The North of Tyne Combined Authority is a partnership of three local authorities: Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Council, and Northumberland County Council and the North of Tyne Elected Mayor.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ukshared-prosperity-fund-prospectus
Drawing on the Ashington Town Investment Plan, the Ashington High Street Innovation Programme was developed incorporating a range of measures running from July 2022 to March 2024.
Northumberland County Council (NCC) will lead and deliver on a range of activities designed to improve Ashington town centre, making it more accessible and attractive to residents and visitors.
Running alongside this, Advance Northumberland will deliver Accelerate Ashington, a business support package comprising of two elements. A digital element to support existing businesses to grow and a start-up element to support individuals from Ashington to establish new businesses, organisations or social enterprises.
Through its digital element, Accelerate Ashington will support local businesses currently trading within Ashington and provide them with funded access to digital tools including:
- A digital audit of their business operations followed by tailored digital consultancy support provided by a Digital Expert.
- A tailored digital marketing campaign targeting the relevant customer profile.
- A website with capability to enable the business to receive sales or bookings online.
Accelerate Ashington will enable businesses from Ashington to introduce digital tools into their day-to-day business activity. These tools include e-commerce websites and proactive digital marketing campaigns to expand and reach new customers and build digital capacity within the business. Businesses can also have access to a digital expert who will provide digital audit of their business operations followed by tailored digital consultancy support to help them implement tools and processes to grow.
Places are limited and individual businesses will be assessed to understand which of the three digital options will provide optimal impact to day-to-day business activity. Applications will be considered on a first come first served basis.
The start-up support will deliver a workshop programme which will provide key skills to individuals looking to start and establish new businesses, organisations or social enterprises.
The workshops will cover:
- How to set up and structure organisations
- How to manage the financial aspects of setting up a new organisation and preparing for the first few years of activity
- Guidance in selecting the most appropriate marketing channels for your target audience
All the support is fully funded meaning that eligible businesses / individuals can receive support to develop their digital tools and presence or even start a business – all without any direct costs to the business.