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March 2017

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership is a strong and dynamic partnership between the private sector, local authorities, universities and further education across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset, and Torbay with the purpose of leading and influence economic growth, job creation and prosperity across the Heart of the South West.

About the Newsletter
Produced monthly, this newsletter aims to keep people informed of current news and activity.

Chris Garcia, Chief Executive 

This week’s highlight was the national LEP Annual Conference where all the 38 LEPs from around to country got together to share lessons learnt and explore how we can work together for the benefit of the UK economy.

Our Chair, Steve Hindley was a keynote speaker and addressed a packed audience about what LEPs have done collectively and collaboratively to drive productivity and growth.

We also met some of our SW MPs last week who all agreed that we need to work together with our neighbouring LEPs to promote the South West to inward investors and to develop strategies that will raise productivity, such as improvements in infrastructure and working in clusters.

Since LEPs were first established 6 years ago we’ve increasingly developed strategies across our borders that are reaping rewards and gaining momentum for the region to rival the engines and powerhouses up-country. We’ve appointed a South West Partnerships Executive to bring this work together with the relevant LEPs - with whom we forge different partnerships for different themes - such as Nuclear South West, the i Aero cluster and a new rural productivity project that we’re just getting off the ground.

There are still outstanding calls for European funding to be had, so we’ve held a couple of really successful workshops for potential applicants, and are encouraging businesses and other organisations to consider the funding opportunities that are live at the moment, with details here.

We were delighted that we received 70 responses to the first stage of consultation for the HotSW Productivity Plan, and are currently compiling these so we can make specific responses to the national Industrial Strategy; including those in relation to the nuclear and aerospace industries.

And finally, we are very pleased to announce the proposed appointment from the end of May of our eight new Non-Executive Directors whose expertise will be increasingly valuable to our board as we progress the new Productivity Plan that aims to drive prosperity for all. I look forward to working with them, and would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the immense contribution made by those board members that are coming towards the end of their terms of office after six years of helping our partnership achieve our successes to date. We wouldn’t have made the great progress we have without them.

New LEP Board Members to Lead Productivity and Growth 

The LEP Board has approved the recommendation of the Non-Executive Director interview panel to appoint eight new LEP business board members to take over from those existing board members who come to the end of their period of service after May.

The calibre of the candidates was high, and those appointed have the right skills and expertise to take the LEP forward on its journey towards increased productivity in the HotSW area.

The board members who are leaving have made a significant contribution to the development and achievements of the LEP since its creation, which now manages an investment programme of nearly £3/4 billion.

Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Steve Hindley CBE DL, said: “I’m delighted that these high calibre business and skills leaders are joining us at the helm of the HotSW LEP. They will bring renewed expertise in a cross section of areas that are relevant to our growing programme of investment, and I look forward to working with them to develop the HotSW Productivity Plan to deliver increased prosperity across the area.

“On behalf of the Partnership, I would like to thank those board members who come to the end of their terms of office. Their insight and commitment has helped our LEP develop into a highly successful partnership that has so far secured circa £750 million of investment from the public and private sector. The new board members will continue the momentum to take us forward on our journey towards transformational growth.”

The new board members are: Karl Tucker, Joint Managing Director, Yeo Valley Farms (Production) Ltd; Richard Stevens, Managing Director, Plymouth Citybus Ltd; Fiona McMillan, Non-Executive Director, EDF Energy New Build Gen Co Ltd; Helen Lacey, Managing Director, Red Berry Recruitment; Mel Squires, SW Regional Director, NFU; Jackie Jacobs, Board Member and Joint Owner, EIC Group / SW Metal Finishing Ltd; Stuart Brocklehurst, Chief Executive Applegate Marketplace Ltd; David Bird, Santander Corporate and Commercial Banking.

ESIF news

The LEP has held two events this month to help prospective applicants understand the latest funding opportunities and what is needed for a successful ERDF and RDPE applications. The presentations are available under the Events section of our ESIF pages here.
17 March saw the launch of three new ERDF funding opportunities, with deadlines for outline applications of 13 May 2017:
  • Enterprise Coaching – £2 million ERDF for the transition area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay only for activity to promote and support enterprise creation in recognised areas of deprivation and amongst under-represented groups. Further details are available here.
  • Opening New Market Opportunities – £1.45 million ERDF (£1,000,000 for the transition area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and £450,000 for the more developed area of Somerset) for provision of support to enable SMEs to access opportunities around key growth sectors in the Heart of the South West. Further details are available here.
  • Inward Investment – £1.35 million ERDF (£900,000 for the transition area of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and £450,000 for the more developed area of Somerset) for activity to promote the Heart of the South West as a prime location for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and to attract more FDI businesses to the area. Further details are available here.
In addition, two ERDF calls published in January remain open to outline applications:
  • A £2 million ERDF call for enterprise and incubation space in the transition areas of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay only. This is a rolling call, with outline applications reviewed at set points. Further details can be found here.
  • A £5 million ERDF call (£2.5 million for the transition areas of Devon, Plymouth and Torbay and £2.5 million for the more developed area of Somerset) for activity to support the shift to a low carbon economy. This is a rolling call, with outline applications reviewed at set points. Further details can be found here.
For any queries relating to any of these calls for proposals, please contact the Department for Communities and Local Government, as the ERDF Managing Authority, at


Funding boost to help deliver Heart of the South West Enterprise Zone


The Heart of the South West Enterprise Zone site at Huntspill will benefit from the Growth Deal funding awarded to boost the local economy and growth.

The Growth Deal for the HotSW LEP area was announced last month by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid. HotSW LEP will receive £43.57m of funding which will help to deliver 10 transformational projects. This Growth Deal money will part-fund the access road to the Heart of the South West Enterprise Zone’s Huntspill Energy Park and will assist with project’s viability and deliverability.

Huntspill Energy Park is a 270-acre brownfield site located near Bridgwater, just off J23 of M5. The project has been offered Growth Deal funding to assist with building the new road which will improve access to the site. Over its lifetime the site will create over 4,400 high skilled jobs and will generate in a region of £126m of business rates, which will be reinvested to further boost the growth in the area.

Huntspill Energy Park has been granted planning permission (subject to finalising legalities) to deliver 90 hectares of employment land and nearly 2 million square foot of floor space for low carbon and energy generation related businesses.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The South West has huge economic potential and we’re determined to see it go from strength to strength. That’s why we’re backing the new Heart of the South West Enterprise Zone with millions of pounds of investment through Local Growth Fund. From high-tech engineering and energy innovation in Bridgwater to supercomputers in Exeter Science Park, this new Enterprise Zone is a key milestone for the region.”

HotSW LEP Chair Steve Hindley CBE DL, said: “We can and will deliver transformational growth in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay, with the right level of backing. This latest Growth Deal funding helps us to achieve the step-change that we aspire to, and we look forward to putting these new schemes into place to help us raise productivity and generate rewarding careers.”

“The site at Huntspill is part of a package of Enterprise Zones over three locations and seven sites in Heart of the South West: including Exeter and East Devon, Oceansgate in Plymouth and the Food Enterprise Zone at the Royal Bath and West Showground. Together the Heart of the South West Enterprise Zones package offers economic opportunities for the key sectors of marine, environmental futures, nuclear and food and drink.”

“The Enterprise Zones will benefit the whole of the Heart of the South West economy as the sites are strategically placed to deliver jobs and growth throughout the area.”

Councillor Duncan McGinty, Leader of Sedgemoor District Council, said: “We have a proven track record of delivering growth in the area, with Sedgemoor outperforming many town and cities in the South West. This additional Government funding will help to unlock the infrastructure for the region’s largest employment site and allow it to move ahead in a timely manner.”

HotSW LEP’s Growth Hub One Year In

The Heart of the South West Growth Hub has assisted more than 1,700 enterprises understand the business support landscape and access the support they need to succeed.  The team has introduced businesses to 50 different schemes and identified over 200 sources of information and advice.

The Growth Hub is an impartial, free service providing a first point of contact for new and established businesses seeking support in the LEP area.

In its first year of delivery, the Growth Hub has introduced 350 businesses to business support schemes and services, and180 businesses have benefited from face to face support from a Growth Hub adviser.

The Growth Hub can help businesses to understand their options when seeking business support. Advisers can match businesses to a diverse range of services which help them to improve performance in areas such as marketing and sales, international markets, innovation, growth, digital skills, employment and training. There are also specific services for entrepreneurs looking for support to take their first steps in business and access to a wealth of free information and resources.

David Hynd, Programme and Partnership Manager for the Growth Hub said: “Acting as an integrator and simplifying access to business support is at the heart of what the Growth Hub service is all about. In our first year we have already set up more than 50 partnerships with support providers that we can introduce our business clients to.

“Our ability to identify and plug potential gaps in existing support provision as well as joining up services where this makes sense for certain sectors or geographies provides a real value added service for businesses.”

97% of businesses that have received support from the Growth Hub have stated in feedback that they would recommend the service.

Businesses looking for support can contact the Heart of the South West Growth Hub on

03456 047 047 or at

Young people boosted by European Social Funding & National Lottery Funding

CSW Group has received £1,706,400 to help some of the South West’s most vulnerable young people make a positive move towards education, employment and training.   

The new project called #focus5 will provide in-depth support to young people aged 15-18 across the HotSW LEP area.  

Over the next three years CSW and its partners will work with 490 individuals in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay; including those with mental health issues, special educational needs and disabilities, lone parents, and care leavers.

Those involved in the project will receive ongoing individual help from an identified key worker who will build a personalised package of support.
Paul Hobson, CEO of CSW said, “This is great news for the region and will provide many young people with support that will make a real difference to their lives”.

HotSW LEP Chair Steve Hindley CBE DL, said: “The LEP is very keen to support initiatives to help young people get into education, training and employment so we are very pleased that this project has received funding. We’re working towards raising productivity across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay so it’s important that young people are equipped with the right skills to take up the higher value jobs being created.”

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