Some great news for the Forest of Dean and Gloucestershire as a whole thanks to the £11.3 million from the Government’s £900 million ‘Getting Building Fund’, topped up by £450,000 from the Gfirst LEP.
Two of the five projects in Gloucestershire are in the Forest of Dean, representing more than £3 million of Government funding.
£1.25 million will fund a Digital Innovation Farm at Hartpury University - creating a new innovation and demonstration workspace for high growth SMEs in the growth phase already operating within the agri-tech sector to explore, test, trial, research and develop products, or enhance existing ones.
The Digital Innovation Farm project will in this first phase provide five business accelerator units (the ‘Tech Box Park’). Firms will use the facilities to explore, test, trial, research and develop products, or enhance existing ones.
The impact will support SMEs to develop ‘new to firm’ products and ‘new to market’ products, leading to growth in each business. 120 SMEs will be supported and Gloucestershire’s innovation workspace infrastructure enhanced.
£1.96 million will fund a Construction Skills Accelerator Centre at KW Bell Group Ltd in Cinderford.
The Construction Skills Accelerator Centre is a multipurpose conference and training facility based in the heart of the Forest of Dean. It has been thoughtfully designed to link the construction industry with education by providing a learning environment that is digitally advanced, safe, interactive and relevant.
The Centre will be co-funded by a privately-owned family business, which has been in operation for over 50 years, founded in, and operating within, the Forest of Dean. With major links to the house-building industry, K W Bell Group will facilitate an employment network, which has already established support through its existing client base.
I have pressed Ministers about these schemes and I am very pleased that they have listened to my calls for increased funding for innovative projects in the Forest of Dean.
This is what having a Conservative Member of Parliament and Conservatives in Government looks like for the Forest of Dean. Millions of pounds in funding for fantastic local projects.
I am pictured with the senior leadership team of Hartpury and speaking to apprentices at KW Bell (and, yes, before anyone comments below, these pictures were taken in pre-COVID/social distancing times!)