Case Study: Newham Borough Council Levelling Up Fund
Updated: Aug 29
Client: London Borough of Newham
Date: May 2021 - July 2021
Challenges faced by the client:
Newham Council (the Council) saw the Levelling Up Fund as an opportunity to develop the local area and invest in infrastructure projects to stimulate regeneration, provide greater access to services, and address inequalities.
Newham is located at the heart of Britain's fastest-growing economic region. The Olympic legacy at Stratford and London’s only Enterprise Zone at the Royal Docks are bringing thousands of new knowledge-based jobs in cutting-edge industries to the area. The Council saw the Levelling Up Fund as an opportunity to better connect residents to the benefits of the Olympic legacy and Enterprise Zone by improving travel infrastructure, access to employment opportunities and green spaces, and deliver town centre regeneration.
These interventions would build upon recent successes in Newham and deliver a positive impact on the local area and improve residents’ lives.
Newham was one of only two London Authorities awarded tier 1 status in the first LUF round, meaning the borough had been prioritised for investment. The Council required support to develop two compelling, clear, and coherent submissions to the Levelling Up Fund.
Mutual Ventures was appointed by the Council to provide our expertise and best practice for central government funding applications. We developed a clear strategic case, theory of change, economic analysis, and a robust plan to manage the projects to completion. We provided quality assurance to technical sections of the bid including Value for Money and Deliverability through financial modelling and project plans.
These bids aimed to secure up to £40m funding for two projects:
the development of ‘15-minute neighbourhoods’ to create attractive street environments to support local businesses, enable residents to access employment opportunities, and provide parks and open spaces including cycle and walking paths.
‘Connecting to Opportunity’, a strategy to better connect communities to opportunities in five areas: employment, enterprise, community and culture, physical connections, and digital connections. This include three strands: an eco-friendly regeneration project in the East Docks area; a heritage and creative enterprise project in Canning Town, and a transport infrastructure project in Leaway.
Following the Comprehensive Spending Review announcement (27 October), Newham Council’s two Levelling Up Fund bids have been given the green light by government, with nearly £40 million awarded to the local authority – the highest award out of the £65m total allocated to London.
The anticipated outcomes include:
Local residents are better able to access training and higher-paid jobs, particularly in green enterprise and creative industries
New ‘Engine Rooms’ promoting access to skills & training.
Local entrepreneurs and SMEs are more able to access green business opportunities and affordable workspaces.
Local creative and cultural industries are connected to local communities and London’s cultural institutions through affordable workspaces embedded into new hubs.
High street regeneration through restoration and re-opening of a prominent historic building.
Heritage displays, events and activities promote social cohesion and help different cultures and communities to understand each other.
A new arts trail on the Leaway provides a cultural destination, helping to address the current deficit in cultural infrastructure.
Improved accessibility to and between Royal Docks, Stratford & Canary Wharf employment opportunities.
Improved public realm and pedestrian and cycling environment.
Improved connectivity between neighbourhoods and town centres, increasing footfall in town centres.
Improved health and well-being through higher levels of cycling and physical activity and reduced carbon emissions improving air quality.
It was a genuine pleasure working with the Mutual Ventures Team on our Levelling Up bids. Their detailed knowledge of the Levelling Up Fund policy and process meant they were able to give us the right strategic and practical advice and challenge at the right time. They were also on hand at any time with amazing insight and ideas. They blended well with our internal team providing outstanding support and advice and helped shape the overall narrative of our bids as well as getting into the detail.
Karen Whelan, Director of Community Wealth Building, London Borough of Newham