Toggle menu

£220,000 issued to projects in communities across Chichester District to boost economic growth

More than £220,000 has been issued to businesses and community groups in the Chichester District over the last year to help boost the area's economic growth.

Woodfire camping

Following a bid to Government in 2022, Chichester District Council was allocated £1.7 million of UK Shared Prosperity and Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) to be used by 31 March 2025. 

Money from the UKSPF has been made available to help encourage economic growth and improve the quality of life for people across the district. The REPF is intended to support projects that assist with supporting businesses and community infrastructure to address particular challenges faced by rural areas.

During the first round of funding, 23 projects across the district were approved, all of which are due to be completed by April 2024.

A second funding application window for projects in the district closed in January, which received a very positive response. Applications are currently being reviewed by the council.

"I'm delighted at the response to the latest round of funding and it's wonderful to see so many projects from the previous funding period coming to fruition," says Councillor Harsha Desai, Cabinet Member for Growth and Place at Chichester District Council.

"As well as the funding that has been granted to businesses, community groups and organisations, the council has also been directly delivering a number of its own projects. These include a Culture Spark way-finder project in the Medmerry area of Selsey, a laser light show in Chichester during the February half term break, and the council's Cross Market and More events, which will start again in March.

"Many of the projects that we have already funded have helped to make a huge difference to some of the area's businesses and community groups, helping them to expand their customer offer and allowing them more flexibility. Crucially, this has also helped keep jobs in our district, which helps support the local economy."

A total of 23 projects were funded from the previous round of applications. Among these is a project to help Chichester Cathedral Flower Festival volunteers expand their skills and knowledge for future events. The funding was also used to deliver a demonstration on how to prepare sustainable flower arrangements by using environmentally friendly alternatives to flower foam. A video of the demonstration is now available (opens new window).

Another project funded by the UKSPF is the Bourne Heritage Trail, which has been organised by the Wemsfest Community Interest Company. They are currently working on a series of local history-based heritage trails. Walkers and visitors can scan various QR codes with their mobiles as they follow the trail to learn more about the history of each area.

Projects that have received funding from the Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) include Woodfire Camping Ltd which is a gastro campsite near Petworth and Splash Robe based in Birdham.

Woodfire Camping was looking to extend its offering and increase revenue. The funding enabled them to install a large event tepee, which the company can use to host larger groups and grow its corporate events market. Since introducing the new covered area, they have held four larger events using their new facility.

Splash Robe is a business that makes a three-in-one outdoor robe made from recycled materials. Funding has helped the company to secure patent protection and as well as help them create a website where people can view and buy the product.

Stella Gurney and her husband Mark Griffiths, who set up Woodfire Camping said: "Receiving the generous funding from Chichester Council made it possible for us to commission Mike O'Brien, a local craftsman, to design and create a unique modular covered area that perfectly fits our needs. Now we have a large space to use in bad weather, meaning we can accommodate corporate away days and private events; a game-changer for our business since it allows us to generate revenue during the quiet times of our short summer season.

"Made with locally coppiced wooden poles, our new 'henge' shelter entirely matches our aesthetic and sustainable ethos. We've been able to spend the funding locally by using other businesses and resources in West Sussex, and it's enabled us to grow our business in the location where it began and has its roots."

Cllr Desai adds: "It's wonderful to see the amazing range of groups and businesses that have already received funding and completed their projects. We're looking forward to helping even more community groups and local employers over the coming months."

Date of Release: 6 March 2024     

Reference: 4310