New Report: HS2 Community & Business Funds Annual Review 2023/24

Groundwork UK, independent administrators of the HS2 Community and Environment Fund (CEF) and Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF) have released the HS2 Funds Annual Review for 2023/24.

In the last year, over £2.5m has been awarded to 49 CEF and BLEF projects that support communities and businesses along the line of the route. Since 2017, the programme has funded 285 projects to the tune of over £16.09m.

The report highlights some of the impactful projects that have been funded via the programme, including George Fentham Hampton-in-Arden Charity that received £30,107 to convert a plot of land into community allotments.

The plots will be offered at a peppercorn rent to the village community and will be managed by Hampton-in-Arden Parish Council. There will be relevant ongoing educational sessions with the participation of the local primary school, a local beekeeper, the village gardening club as well as offering Scouts and Guides badges. The plots are adjacent to a local nursery who will offer their support by providing materials and with horticultural knowledge. The trees for the community orchard have also now been planted. The grant from HS2 has made all of this possible and will be a lasting heritage for many years to come as the plots are used by successive generations of local families.

Charlie Richard, Treasurer of George Fentham Trust

In London, Bengali Workers’ Association received £41,964 for the ‘Older People’s Project’ that delivers a weekly programme of exercise sessions, social clubs, cultural activities and assistance for financial management for residents aged 50. Many elderly residents in this area feel isolated and in need of assistance, and this project helps them adapt to an ever-changing local environment.

I would like to take the opportunity to express our gratitude for the HS2 funding. This will have an extremely positive impact on our elderly vulnerable service users. It will support our Older People’s Project offering elderly residents a wide range of social, recreational and wellbeing activities – a place where they can come together, develop friendships and support networks, and where they will be supported and empowered.

Salik Miah, Chair of Bengali Workers’ Association

British Wheelchair Sports Foundation in Buckinghamshire also received CEF funding of £75,000 to replace an aging sports hall floor at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement.

The grant will enable a wide range of community and disabled sports groups to continue using the sports hall to stay active. Users include local disability teams Stoke Mandeville Maulers Wheelchair Rugby Club and Aces Wheelchair Basketball Club. Local non-disabled activities include walking football and netball for the over 50s, netball, futsal, badminton, karate and dance.

Paul Rushton, Head of Fundraising, Data and Communications at The British Wheelchair Sports Foundation

During a turbulent year for the HS2 project, it’s fantastic that communities have been provided with continuous and stable support through the Funds, which are ensuring a rich variety of community assets and activities are being created for those effected by the works.

Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s UK Chief Executive

We’re delighted to report that support for communities along HS2’s route has now exceeded £16m, with some outstanding examples of the tangible benefits enjoyed by locally-led projects. In the last year we have invested in vital schemes to improve local people’s health and wellbeing, support children and young people, enhance the environment, and improve buildings and facilities – bringing communities together across rural and urban areas.

Cathy Elliott, Independent Chair of the HS2 Funds