Communities and businesses in Hereford are joining forces to strike a deal with Government and secure up to £25 million for regeneration projects in the city.
Hereford is one of 100 places invited by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government to be part of the £3.6 billion Towns Fund, a scheme that seeks to support economic growth in towns and cities around the UK.
An independent Towns Fund board, backed by Herefordshire Council, has now been established to lead this work locally.
Over the coming months the new group, known as the #StrongerHereford board, will connect with local people to create an ambitious vision for Hereford city’s future. They will be asking residents, local businesses, colleges, schools, and many others to help them identify major projects that would bring about economic and social improvements.
Members of the #StrongerHereford board have been drawn from the private, public and community sectors and all have Herefordshire in their heart. They are a mix of parents, students, educators, business owners, employers and employees, creatives and politicians.
Mark Stevenson, who runs Work Here – a co-working space in Hereford’s High Town, is the chair of the group.
He said: “We’re going to be working hard to make sure residents can put forward their ideas for capital projects. Our responsibility as the board is to then take those ideas to the Government and strike a deal to fund local projects.
“We will need big ideas and ambitious suggestions from people who live and work locally. These might be sustainable transport, culture and heritage, or/and regeneration.
“With your backing we can secure a Towns Deal that will create jobs, a stronger visitor economy, reductions in carbon emissions and thriving communities.”
Fellow board member Ruth Parry, Director of Operations and Marketing at Hereford-based Simple Design Works added: “We really value making a contribution to our local economy. Like many entrepreneurial and rapidly growing businesses we’re passionate about being part of the community where we live and work.
“It’s exciting to be working with like-minded people who also want to make great things happen. Having the support of Jesse Norman and other business folk who understand the challenges will be invaluable to lead us through to a successful outcome for Hereford.”
Town Deals are part of the government’s plan to level up all regions by boosting productivity, skills and living standards.
The #StrongerHereford board – whose members are meeting virtually every few weeks – will soon announce more details on how to get involved.
Until then, you can share your thoughts on what you want to see in Hereford online at mytown.communities.gov.uk/town/hereford.
L-R: #StrongerHereford board members Laura Hughes, Mark Stevenson and Lauren Rogers. The board, which has 15 members in total, is asking local people for big ideas before bidding for Government cash for regeneration projects in Hereford city. Picture by Imee Marriott.