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£1.5m boost for 12 pioneering jobs and skills projects

Norfolk County Council, 24 February 2023 00:00

From commercial use of seaweed to improving home insulation - 12 projects to boost Norfolk's economy are set to receive £1.5 million from the county council.

Cabinet will consider funding 12 pilot projects to shape Norfolk's economic future, using £1.5 million from the local business rates fund.

The proposed projects are the first phase of the Norfolk Investment Framework (NIF), which will identify long-term investment priorities for the county, to boost the economy and improve public services.

Councillor Fabian Eagle, cabinet member for growing the economy, said: "This is about Norfolk developing its own economic priorities, using an evidence-based approach, so we are ready to bid for any funding opportunity. It fits perfectly with our county deal - decisions made in Norfolk, for Norfolk.

"These pilot projects will help to boost business growth, develop new supply chains, support Norfolk's move to net zero and enhance skills in the county.

"A great example is the digital and creative media centre proposed for Watton High Street. Not only will it spread digital skills to rural areas outside of Norwich but it will also encourage new businesses to set up."

The county council's cabinet will consider 12 pilot projects, which include:

  • Exploring development of a seaweed industry to support food, fertilisers, animal feed, biofuels and bioplastics
  • Investigating water storage and desalination and the efficient movement of water supplies around Norfolk
  • A digital and creative media centre in Watton, to improve skills and encourage start-up businesses
  • Working with colleges to support recruitment and retention of skills tutors, including the development of a bursary to support graduates in taking up tutoring jobs
  • Investigating the development of a rooftop solar panel network across greater Norwich
  • Carrying out a feasibility study on retrofitting homes to maximise energy efficiency

Cabinet will consider the report when it meets at 10am on Monday 6 March. You can read the Cabinet report and watch the meeting, live or afterwards.

Background

Developed by the county council and key stakeholders, the Norfolk Investment Framework provides an evidence base for the design of future large-scale projects and investment. It is a tool to leverage further funding and attract investment.

It was commissioned in response to several factors, including the Government's Levelling Up White Paper, which aims to boost productivity, wages and public services; the Norfolk and Suffolk Economic Strategy, which aims for a step-change in Norfolk's economy; and the move away from European Union funding to a new approach, where there will be more competition for funding.

The 12 pilot projects, to be considered by cabinet, are:

  • Seaweed in East Anglia
  • Net Zero East RENEW
  • Net Zero Norfolk Communities
  • Clean Hydrogen Strategy
  • Agri Food and Decarbonisation
  • Skills Workforce Initiative
  • Wayland DCMC
  • Norfolk Solar System
  • Digital Access Skills and Attainment
  • Rural Electric Vehicle Charging
  • Fintech Cluster
  • Countywide Housing Retrofit Strategy

Full details on each are included in the report.

Last modified: 30 January 2024 13:33