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Next step in £19.6m investment in Worcester

Artist's impression of the completed Severn Centre for Health and Wellbeing

Worcester city councillors have backed the first of five business cases for projects that will bring £19.6m of Government investment to Worcester.

The City Council has secured the funding from the national Towns Fund, after drawing up proposals to support five major schemes to boost Worcester's economy, promote active travel and provide new skills training for local people.

The Council's Policy and Resources Committee has approved the business case for the first project, the Severn Centre for Health and Wellbeing. Details will now be provided to the Department for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities, triggering the release of the first funding instalment of £2.5m.

That money will support the development of the University of Worcester's new £20m learning centre in Hylton Road, already under development at the former Worcester News building.

This contribution from the Towns Fund will boost the capacity of the new health centre, ensuring it delivers health training to 1,500 students each year and creating 100 new jobs – helping to improve health care in Worcester and the surrounding area.

Councillor Marc Bayliss, Leader of Worcester City Council, said: "The near £20m of investment that the Towns Fund will bring to Worcester represents a major boost for our city.

"It will help us deliver the vision set out in our new City Plan, one of a prosperous Worcester with stronger and connected communities who are healthy and active. It will help us to enhance and sustain our beautiful city for future generations and ensure Worcester is a successful heritage city with a 21st Century culture.

"The Severn Centre for Health and Wellbeing is the first of five projects to come forward and, at a time when health services are at the forefront of our minds like never before, will make a significant contribution to training up the health experts that the NHS and other local services need."

Professor David Green CBE DL, the University of Worcester's Vice Chancellor, said: "The University is very grateful to the City Council for this vital financial support. This completely re-purposed building will create new specialist clinical education facilities which will enable us to educate many more nurses, doctors, paramedics, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and other health professionals who are so badly needed by the NHS and the people of the city and surrounding areas."

The business cases for the remaining four Towns Fund projects will be brought before the Policy and Resources Committee in the new year.

They are for:

  • Active travel – new and improved walking and cycling routes, a bike hire scheme, and a significant contribution to the new Kepax bridge across the Severn, linking communities to opportunities for employment, education, and leisure
  • Heritage and riverside – improvements to the Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum and The Commandery, alongside enhanced landscaping and accessibility to the Cathedral and riverside
  • Community level skills and training - expanding the offering of the city's community centres to provide inclusive, safe and high-quality training facilities in deprived communities, and the creation of a new 'Building Block' construction skills centre in Dines Green
  • Shrub Hill - as part of a plan to regenerate the wider Shrub Hill area, new homes and commercial / employment spaces will be constructed, and an enterprise and commercial centre will open on the current Isaac Maddox House site.
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