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Case Study: Staffordshire Moorland District Council Levelling Up Fund Round 2 bid

Challenges faced by the client:

Staffordshire Moorland District Council (the Council) has a vision to create an ‘area with a vibrant and distinctive natural and built environment which welcomes planned growth to create an independent and sustainable economy and offers a high quality of life to the residents, visitors and the business community in North Staffordshire’. Within this strategy, Leek has a pivotal role as a ‘self-contained market town', with potential to offer sustainable business and employment opportunities and become a hub for arts and creative industries.

The Council planned to use Levelling Up Fund investment to address multiple market failures that were combining to create a formidable obstacle to community cohesion and physical activity, undermining the vibrancy of Leek town centre and acting as a barrier to growth. The limited cultural and leisure provision delivered from community assets in Leek has resulted in a lack of vibrancy in the town centre and community cohesion has suffered as a result. In addition, the Council also prioritised the need to foster physical activity, address health and well-being inequalities and promote community cohesion.

Support delivered:

The Council appointed Mutual Ventures to lead the development of the Council’s Levelling Up Fund Round 2 bid that focused on the regeneration of Leek town centre. The bid consisted of three interventions designed to address longstanding market failures and underpin the Council’s wider vision to reinvigorate the local economy and provide improved life outcomes to residents, communities and businesses.

The investment would refurbish, upgrade, and modernise Victorian market halls for contemporary business and community use; provide an improved public library, museum and exhibition space at the historic Nicholson Institute and create a new swimming facility as part of a wider leisure centre transformation. Together these projects will deliver much-needed economic, health and well-being benefits to the local community.

MV ‘held the pen’ on the bid and project-managed the process. We worked closely with the Council and their partners to fully develop the propositions for each element of the bid and develop an ambitious, compelling, affordable and Green Book compliant LUF bid.

Our work focused on developing a compelling and evidencebased narrative that demonstrated how the investments would encourage behaviour change (healthier lifestyles etc.) and unlock the economic and civic potential of the town centre through investment in a state of the art and financially sustainable community asset located within the town centre.

This bid tied together with a clear strategic case and theory of change, economic analysis, a positive cost-benefit ratio (BCR) and robust plan to manage the projects through to completion.

Outcomes achieved:

The council received confirmation in January 2023 that their LUF bid was successful, with the council securing central government investment of £17.1m.


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