UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Rural England Prosperity Fund

Investment in communities and place, supporting local business and people and skills.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment between April 2022 and March 2025. It aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK by investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. The UKSPF replaces the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund, with all areas of the UK receiving an allocation.

The Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) is a top-up to the UKSPF and succeeds EU funding from LEADER and the Growth Programme which were part of the Rural Development Programme for England. The REPF supports capital projects for small businesses and community infrastructure. This will help to improve productivity and strengthen the rural economy and rural communities. It is complementary to funding used to support rural areas under the UKSPF, with the funding period running from April 2023 to March 2025.

Lead local authorities have flexibility over how they deliver the UKSPF and REPF. Westmorland and Furness Council will use a mix of competitions for grant funding, procurement, commissioning or delivery through in-house teams.

Thrive with Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund

We are currently inviting applications to the Thrive with Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund. This fund aims to empower arts, cultural and heritage organisations, through funding and support, in the delivery of projects that actively contribute to supporting a diverse cultural and heritage offer within their local community and quality of life across Westmorland and Furness. It is being funded through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and the Rural England Prosperity Fund.

Capital and revenue grants of between £10,000 and £35,000 are available for existing not-for-profit arts, cultural and heritage organisations in Westmorland and Furness.

The deadline for expressions of interest is 22nd April 2024.

Any queries as well as completed Expression of Interest forms should be directed to:

Thrive with Arts, Culture and Heritage fund criteria (PDF , 616KB)

Thrive with Arts, Culture and Heritage fund Expression of Interest (PDF , 108KB)

Investment priorities and funding allocation

After the vesting of Westmorland and Furness Council on 1 April 2023, the UKSPF investment plans of South Lakeland District Council, Eden District Council and Barrow Borough Council were brought together into a single investment plan for the new council, with funding of £2,017,798 allocated to Westmorland and Furness for 2023/24 and £5,286,627 for 2024/25. The new investment plan reflects the ambitions, aims and approaches set out in the three original investment plans and the vision and priorities of the  Westmorland and Furness Council Plan.

The Council also has a REPF allocation of £2,189,651 with £547,413 available in 2023-24 and £1,642,238 in 2024-25. Only projects in the former South Lakeland and Eden district areas are eligible for support from the REPF.

Our investment priorities for the UKSPF and REPF are:

  • Improvements to town centres and high streets
  • Arts, cultural and creative activities
  • Active Travel
  • Impactful voluntary and social action projects
  • Improvements to sports facilities
  • Business start-up, growth and innovation
  • Business decarbonisation
  • Support to access employment
  • Support to help people in employment access education and training
  • Small scale investment in micro and small enterprises in rural areas
  • Growing the local social economy and supporting innovation
  • Improvements to cultural, historic and heritage institutions and assets


Multiply is a £560m grant programme under the Department for Education ‘Skills for Life’ offer funded through the UKSPF. Multiply aims to deliver bespoke adult numeracy programmes in the community. The programme started in 2022 and will run until 31 March 2025.
Westmorland and Furness Council is the lead authority for Multiply across Cumbria. Lead authorities are responsible for producing a Multiply Investment Plan and for administering funding that is awarded from the programme. The county has been allocated a total of £2.326m for the duration of the programme. 

The council commissioned 12 partners to deliver Multiply across the county. These include further education colleges, independent training providers, charities and employability support organisations. The Adult Learning Service within the council is also a partner and is delivering Multiply interventions across Cumbria.

Local Partnership Group

A Local Partnership Group made up of local stakeholders from strategic organisations across the Westmorland and Furness area and wider region was established in 2022 to oversee the development of the investment plans and provide advice on the strategic fit and deliverability of UKSPF and REPF projects during the selection process. Westmorland and Furness UKSPF Local Partnership Group - Terms of Reference and membership (PDF, 29KB)

Projects in 2023 to 2024 and 2024 to 2025

Westmorland and Furness Council will support selected projects that deliver on the Council’s UKSPF and REPF investment priorities in 2023 to 2024 and 2024 to 2025. A call inviting project applications was open from 26 May to 30 June 2023, with final decisions on projects to be supported made in September 2023 by the Council’s UKSPF Investment Board. A full list of the selected projects can be viewed at UKSPF and REPF Funded Projects (PDF, 396KB).

A number of programmes of grants and support for local businesses and organisations are among the projects to be funded by the council, including:

Local businesses and organisations can apply for funding and seek support from these programmes by contacting the relevant delivery organisation directly. If you would like further guidance or have any queries on the support available please email

E37: Support to Address Barriers to Accessing Education and Training

The Council is currently inviting applications to a call for projects for intervention E37: Support to Address Barriers to Accessing Education and Training. This will be the final open call for projects to be launched for the Council’s UKSPF programme before its closure in March 2025. Funding from E37 will support projects which fill gaps in local skills provision to help people to progress in work.

Application form and supporting documents:

Please return completed applications to

The closing date for applications is Monday 26 February at 12pm.

Further guidance to support projects:

For more information on the UKSPF and REPF please refer to the following guidance:


If you have any questions you can contact us at