Groundwork UK, independent administrators of Phase One of HS2 Community and Environment Fund (CEF) and Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF) have released the HS2 Funds Annual Review for 2020/2021.
In the last year, over £3.6m has been awarded to 45 Community and Environment Fund (CEF) and Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF) projects that support communities and business along Phase One of the route.
Funded projects include the University of Warwick that received £250,000 to support the renovation of the Warwick Arts Centre. In London, Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust were awarded close to £75,000 to fund new green facilities, including a ‘Healing and Peace’ garden for patients, visitor and staff. Beacon Park Tennis in Lichfield have received £62,000 of funding for the redevelopment of the public access tennis and netball courts that the community can use.
The report also highlights how some projects have been able to adapt their delivery during the Covid-19 pandemic to offer further support to their communities or deliver in a different way.
In London, Bubblesqueakeat CIC continued to support the health and wellbeing of local people by delivering food packages. They have also worked with local young people to keep them entertained with the project by offering art packs, science activities and engaged them with creating care packages and writing letters to elderly local people who were shielding.
Graham Duxbury, National Chief Executive, Groundwork UK, said: “It’s great to see the impact being made by the projects funded last year through the HS2 Community and Business Funds. The pandemic has hit community groups hard in terms of their access to funds and volunteers, so I’m delighted that we’re able to continue offering this vital support at such a difficult time.”
Cathy Elliott, Independent Chair of the HS2 Funds, said: “This Independent Annual Report highlights a significant year for the Funds’ work during its fourth year of operation. I am delighted that the Funds continue to support a variety of projects across urban and rural areas, from small scale to large scale and across a range of activities, enabling communities to realise the tangible benefits of the Funds. I encourage communities along the line of route to find out about the Funds via Groundwork UK and explore ways in which they could potentially benefit from them.”