Funding to Welcome Back visitors

Cllr Jane Scullion

Funding to support a programme of work to attract visitors and local people back to Calderdale villages and towns is being discussed by Calderdale Council’s Cabinet.

The Council has successfully bid for funding from the Government’s Welcome Back fund, to help with COVID economic recovery work across the borough.

Cabinet will be asked to accept the funding of over £370,000 and review the proposed work plan, which is based around six key activity areas focused on helping places recover and informing how best to live with COVID-19 in the future.

Eight locations around the borough are set to benefit from support. It’s proposed that these should be:

  • Brighouse
  • Elland
  • Halifax
  • Hebden Bridge
  • North Halifax
  • Ripponden
  • Sowerby Bridge
  • Todmorden

The fund would allow the Council to work with local delivery partners, such as Business Improvement Districts and Town/Parish councils to put in place additional measures to create and promote a safe environment for local trade and tourism, particularly in high streets as economies reopen. Recognising that the impact of COVID-19 on local economies will be significant, the fund could also be used to develop plans for responding to these impacts.

The Welcome Back Fund has set criteria, but could support the delivery of key elements of the Calderdale Inclusive Economy Recovery Plan. This has been developed by the Calderdale COVID Recovery Group, which is a partnership board chaired by the Leader of the Council, Cllr Tim Swift with membership from across the business community, public sector partners, education and skills and voluntary sectors.

The recovery plan assesses the impacts of the COVID pandemic on Calderdale’s local economy and sets out the areas for action to accelerate recovery. The Welcome Back funding opportunity would help support activity to help places and communities bounce-back from the pandemic.

One focus of the work is to enable and encourage a diverse range of social activities to take place outdoors. These would provide reassurance about safety but also increase the confidence and capability of businesses and organisations, as well as strengthen the sense of place and boost the economy.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Strategy, Cllr Jane Scullion, said:

“COVID has impacted every community in Calderdale and it’s clear that the economic impacts will be felt for some time. We want to help our towns and village communities recover as quickly as possible and this funding would support key initiatives to improve public spaces and raise awareness of how visitors can be welcomed safely and successfully.

“The kindness and community spirit shown in Calderdale throughout the pandemic has been incredible. We want to enhance this spirit of support to provide community focused recovery plans in collaboration with local people. Working within the Government guidelines, this funding would be used to complement other improvement work across the borough, including projects planned using funding already secured through the Future High Streets Fund.”

The Welcome Back fund will be discussed at the meeting of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet on Monday 4 October at Halifax Town Hall from 6pm. The meeting will also be streamed online.


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