Advantage West Midlands prosperous rural communities realising the potential of the West Midlands Region Geoff Brown, Bridgeford Hall Farm, Staffordshire, West Midlands Region Advantage West Midlands The Regional Development Agency (RDA) for the West Midlands Region To Manchester Advantage West Midlands is the Regional & North West To Leeds & North East Development Agency (RDA) for the West Midlands and one of nine RDAs in England. Our role is to lead the economic development Leek of the West Midlands Region, working alongside public, private and voluntary sector Stoke-on-Trent partners to help our region to prosper. We build Market Drayton upon our region’s many strengths and address M6 Uttoxeter Oswestry our unique challenges. Sta ord Burton-upon-Trent Our key task is to lead the development and TELFORD & WREKIN STAFFORDSHIRE delivery of the West Midlands Economic Shrewsbury Lich eld M54 Strategy (WMES), the framework for Telford Tamworth our region’s growth. Through working in Wolverhampton West Walsall M6 Toll M54 M69 partnership, we speak with one voice for the Bridgnorth Dudley Bromwich Nuneaton M1 region and make a far greater impact than Bishops Castle SHROPSHIRE Stourbridge M6 Birmingham we would acting in isolation. Kidderminster Solihull Coventry Ludlow Rugby M42 We have an annual budget of over WORCESTERSHIRE £300 million to invest in the West Midlands M5 Redditch Warwick Region and, at any one time, we manage Leominster To London Worcester around 2,500 projects which change the lives Stratford-upon-Avon M40 & South East HEREFORDSHIRE of people across our region. We drive economic Great Malvern WARWICKSHIRE Evesham development by identifying where we can make Hereford Ledbury the greatest impact, either by targeting specific needs or investing in success. M50 To Oxford, London & South Ross-on-Wye To Bristol For more information visit www.advantagewm.co.uk & South West Cover image: Staffordshire based farmer Geoff Brown (pictured) Geoff is growing 20 hectares of the miscanthus cane, a is a Director of BiEcc – the company set up as the miscanthus non-invasive, sterile, perennial grass at his farm in Great ‘supply manager’ for the £6.5 million Eccelshall Biomass Bridgeford. BiEcc aim to plant 3,400 hectares of the crop project. The pioneering scheme to develop the UK’s first within 25 miles of Eccelshall between 2007-1010. successful bio-energy power plant in Staffordshire is supported by a Dti Bio-Energy Capital Grant Fund and £925,000 from Advantage West Midlands. 2 Advantage West Midlands – prosperous rural communities rural renaissance realising the potential of the rural West Midlands Region We’re committed to improving access to opportunity and to boosting the number and quality of jobs available within sustainable rural communities. Through funding and business support activities across the sub regions of Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire we are meeting the unique challenges and opportunities faced by the rural communities of the Region. The ‘Rural Renaissance Framework’ sets out our integrated approach to rural development. It demonstrates our role and strategy for implementing the West Midlands Economic Strategy (WMES) in the rural West Midlands. overview Advantage West Midlands It is recognised that the Region’s • Craven Arms in Shropshire has provides support through various market towns play a key role in the benefited from £5 million funding initiatives including the Rural revitalisation of the West Midlands. from the programme to complete Regeneration Zone, tackling Advantage West Midlands set up the a £7.5 million office, retail and Market Towns Programme to support residential development. The site accessibility through the Rural participating towns with financial includes incubator units for small Access to Services Programme, packages leading to investment of up and medium size enterprises, as well the Market Towns Programme, to £1 million. Since 2001 the Agency as housing facilities for the Primary the Rural Development has operated a programme of support Care Trust (PCT) and Shropshire Programme for England (RDPE), worth £32m for towns that demonstrate County Council. Other partners in the Region’s Farming and Food need and the capacity to respond to the development were Government delivery plan and by establishing opportunities for regeneration. To date, Office for the West Midlands, strong evidence to underpin its partnerships in 31 towns have been South Shropshire District Council assisted to undertake Healthchecks, and the Housing Corporation. activities. develop Action Plans and to translate these into programmes of economic • The Riverside area of Evesham is one development actions: of the projects in the Worcestershire town that has benefited from a • Pershore No. 8 – this £1.4m total of £525,000 Advantage multipurpose arts centre in the West Midlands funding. This has Worcestershire town received helped to deliver major economic £162,000 from the programme, with development projects including a other contributions coming from Heritage Economic Regeneration Pershore Market Town Partnership, Scheme to restore Georgian the local Town Council, Wychavon architecture, and a wider town centre District Council and community enhancement scheme incorporating fundraising. a new traffic management system. • Jobs have been safeguarded and new business has been attracted to Leek with £130,000 of support from the programme for a £300,000 modernisation of Leek Cattle Market - one of Staffordshire’s few remaining livestock markets. Advantage West Midlands – prosperous rural communities 3 The Advantage West Midlands funded • Residents from Highley in Shropshire The RRZ funds Redundant Building Rural Regeneration Zone (RRZ) covers benefited from £3.5 million of Grants that help bring derelict buildings nearly all of Herefordshire, most of funding to construct the Severn back into productive economic Shropshire and some of Worcestershire. Centre, a multi-use community use. Grants, of up to 25 per cent of The RRZ is committed to a vision of centre that acts as a focus for the conversion costs, are available to helping to create a thriving economy, delivery of a wide range of services eligible companies in Herefordshire, healthy environment and a good in Highley and surrounding areas. Shropshire and Worcestershire. quality of life for everyone who lives or works in the areas covered. It has an • Phase 1 of the 24,000 sq ft Ludlow • Two dilapidated farm buildings allocated budget of circa £30 million Eco Business Park in Shropshire have been given a new lease of between 2006-2009 to help make has opened for business this year life on The Duchy of Cornwall this vision reality. Through the Rural and demand for units has been high. estate, south of Hereford. Regeneration Zone we aim to connect Partners in the ‘environmentally The transformation was made opportunities with the recognised friendly’ office space development possible by a £62,000 Redundant needs of the area, by supporting scheme include South Shropshire Building Grant administered by a variety of projects including: District Council, Advantage West Herefordshire Council. The flagship Midlands and the Rural Regeneration environmentally friendly office project • Enterprise HQ in Shrewsbury, Zone. The project has also received has safeguarded and created 17 Shropshire opened its doors in April funding from the European Regional high quality jobs in Herefordshire. 2007 to provide a business ‘home Development Fund (ERDF). from home’ for rural entrepreneurs. • Following the success of this project This initiative is run in conjunction • The £2.5 million Ludlow Food Centre, the Redundant Building Grant scheme with Home HQ, Shropshire, a regional centre of excellence has, with the support of Advantage which provides goods, services, for farm based retailing and food West Midlands, been extended publicity and promotion for home processing, opened in Spring of 2007 to cover parts of Staffordshire, based business. In partnership following support of £160,000 from Warwickshire and Solihull. with Shropshire Enterprise the Rural Regeneration Zone. The Partnership the scheme received project is led by the Earl of Plymouth support of £470,000 from the Estates and offers a high quality Rural Regeneration Zone. retail store, eight food production units and a centre offering training in farm retail and processing. 4 Advantage West Midlands – prosperous rural communities Abigail Humphries manages the websites of Porter and Porter, Porter and Porter were able to set up their business in a publishing house in rural Worcestershire. Porter and Porter this unique rural setting as a result of the Advantage West was one of the first businesses in Worcestershire to take Midlands sponsored Rural Broadband Access Project. The advantage of a Redundant Buildings Grant, a resource project managed by the Advantage West Midlands funded managed by the Rural Regeneration Zone. The Zone, West Midlands Networking Company is working toward which covers large parts of Herefordshire and Shropshire satellite technology being used to link up more rural areas of as well as wards within the Wyre Forest and Malvern Hills in the West Midlands Region to broadband. The aim is to provide Worcestershire, works at a local level to improve the economy of 100% of homes and businesses in the West Midlands Region the remotest rural parts of our region. The resulting conversion with access to broadband technology by the end of 2006. of a previously disused building has led to the creation a number of jobs for local people in the Knighton on Teme area. Abigail Humphries, Porter and Porter, Knighton on Teme, Worcestershire Advantage West Midlands – prosperous rural communities 5 Advantage West Midlands has a key • From 2008 Advantage West • The Staffordshire based Biomass role in contributing to the sustainability Midlands will be introducing the Project is a groundbreaking £6.5 of rural communities and supporting the Rural Development Programme for million development of the UK’s first diversification of the rural economy. England (RDPE). The programme will successful bio-energy power plant focus on collaborative activity within using miscanthus or “elephant grass” • Advantage West Midlands has the Environmental Technologies, Food as fuel. Through a grant of £935,000 supported the establishment of and Drink, Livestock, Tourism and from Advantage West Midlands plus The Rural Access to Service Leisure and Social and Community support from the DTi, DEFRA and Partnerships. Councils act as the Action sectors. There will also be private sector investment the lead authority for rural transport support for the provision of small scale project will enable 170 farms in the and access to services and the projects involving ‘basic services’ in Shropshire/Staffordshire area to Partnerships enable service rural areas, village renovation and diversify into energy crops. The project access providers to deliver their projects promoting rural heritage and is operated by Eccleshall Biomass own programmes to an agreed culture. A Regional Implementation Ltd, a partnership of Raleigh Hall set of outputs and outcomes. Plan has been developed Properties and Talbott’s Heating Ltd. collaboratively between Advantage • A region wide Wheels to Work • Advantage West Midlands funds West Midlands, Natural England, scheme to help young, unemployed a scheme enabling beef farmers Forestry Commission, Government and disadvantaged people is throughout the West Midlands Region Office for the West Midlands supported by Advantage West to benefit from a grant of 45% of the (GOWM) and other key stakeholders. Midlands. This is part of a drive to purchase price of electronic cattle modernise delivery of rural transport • A Region wide network of county weighing scales. The equipment and to improve access to services. based Rural Hubs to stimulate helps to boost enterprise efficiency In 2006-2007 Wheels to Work business development has been by ensuring cattle are presented at assisted 627 young people in rural established. The hubs secure funding the right weight for marketing. areas to get to work, training or full for a huge range of projects, events, time education on a loaned scooter. grants and advisory work on behalf • Fresherbymiles.com is a business of people and businesses making initiative set up by the Warwickshire • Advantage West Midlands has and Worcestershire Rural Hubs. their living in the countryside. Hub enabled the West Midlands Region The scheme has established a central initiatives have led to the setting to become 100% broadband distribution facility for the marketing up of numerous specialist groups connected, through the Rural and delivery of local and regional with focussed objectives including Broadband Access Project improving the efficiency and food and drink products to homes and Remote Area Broadband profitability of livestock production, and workplaces. Advantage West Inclusion Trial, which have tackled providing business opportunities, Midlands provides funding for the black spots in provision. business networking and promoting project as well as the Worcestershire the procurement of local food by Economic Partnership and large organisations and institutions. Wychavon District Council. 6 Advantage West Midlands – prosperous rural communities Sue Appleby (pictured) produces ‘Spot Loggins Country Ice homes and workplaces operating under the business name Cream’ made with organic milk and double cream from the FresherbyMiles.com. Other project funders include the Rural family’s pedigree herd of cattle in Evesham, Worcestershire. Enterprise Scheme, the Worcestershire Economic Partnership The Ice Cream is distributed through the Fresher by and Wychavon District Council. Miles business initiative set up by the Warwickshire and Worcestershire Rural Hubs supported by Advantage West Midlands. The scheme is a central distribution facility for the marketing and delivery of local and regional food and drink to Sue Appleby, Bretforton House Farm, Evesham, Worcestershire. Advantage West Midlands – prosperous rural communities 7 www.advantagewm.co.uk 3 Priestley Wharf • Holt Street • Aston Science Park • Birmingham B7 4BN Tel: +44(0)121 380 3500 • Fax: +44(0)121 380 3501 • www.advantagewm.co.uk Text-only versions of this brochure can be provided on request in large print, Braille and other languages. Please contact the Marketing Team on 0121 380 3500.