Cabinet approves £5m of priority investments for Westmorland and Furness

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Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet has today approved £5m of brand-new investment in the area to be spent this year on local priority projects.

In total funding for 14 different projects has been decided, reflecting the new council’s key priorities for the area. They include funding for local areas, biodiversity and nature, sustainable transport, social care, children, culture and education. All the projects will be delivered by the end of March 2024.

Cllr Jonathan Brook, Leader of the Council, said:

“I’m delighted Cabinet has approved these projects today. There is a broad range on initiatives that we are backing, and we’ve focused on things that will make a real difference to local people as quickly as possible. These projects are a statement of intent and reflect our priorities as a new council.”

The funded projects include:

  • A £500k welfare support top up fund to help people in need
  • £300k to contribute to new ways of providing help to children and families
  • A £500k youth education and training travel bursary scheme
  • £80k to ensure no one is waiting too long for occupational therapy aids
  • £50k for a pilot project using technology to deliver simple social care
  • £80k to roll out a new training programme to ensure that our staff who are supporting people are ‘trauma informed’
  • £1m for local sustainable transport schemes, like cycling and walking routes and community transport, plus £150k for staff to support the delivery of schemes.
  • £70k to fund a discount bus travel scheme for all 5-20 year olds
  • £300k for introducing 20mph zones where communities want them
  • £500k for a new climate change and environment grant fund
  • £440k to support biodiversity and nature regeneration
  • £300k funding for our three Locality Boards to spend on their own local priorities
  • £250k to support cultural organisations manage the legacy of the pandemic and the cost-of-living

Cllr Brook continued:

“Creating our new council is a huge opportunity to do things differently and improve services and we are realistic about how complex that task is and how long it is going to take. But local people understandably want to see some benefit from this change quickly.

“These priority investments are all things that wouldn’t happen without our new council, and we believe they reflect issues that local people have told us are important to them.

“I would stress, this is by no means all we are going to do, but it’s a really positive start and I’m looking forward to seeing the projects get underway.”