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Communities set to benefit from second phase of Levelling Up

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Gloucestershire County Council is set to invest almost £1.5 million more to continue its commitment to help level communities across the county.

A report going to the county council’s cabinet next Wednesday (20 September) recommends that £1,479,954 is invested in projects and activities that will support Gloucestershire communities to ‘level up’.

The additional investment would see £949,954 going towards addressing general levelling up issues, such as digital exclusion, cost of living, online harm and community transport. The remaining £530,000 would be allocated to the Build Back Better Councillor Scheme, giving each county councillor an extra £10,000 to spend in their division.

The aim of the investment is to build on the county council’s ambition to ‘level up’ its communities and take action to reduce health inequalities.

It comes after the county council launched its Levelling Up Together grant scheme last year, which allocated £1.5 million to areas of the county that needed it most.

The second phase of the investment would see the following key areas highlighted:

  • Digital inclusion – The gap in society between people who have full access to digital technologies and those who do not is called the ‘digital divide’. Digital solutions are an essential part of our future and we aim to address barriers and ensure that some of our most vulnerable residents are not left behind, with a lasting legacy of digital inclusion.
  • Cost of living – Supporting people who have been impacted by the rising costs of fuel, food housing costs and other essentials.
  • Online harms – Identifying ways to support young people to understand and recognise issues concerning internet safety, as well as the threat of radicalisation, abusive behaviour and self-harm, and find safe and supportive solutions.
  • Access to services and community transport – Some communities and groups face particular disadvantages in transport and mobility, including older adults, those with disabilities, young people and those in rural communities. The county council aims to provide accessible and sustainable transport solutions as part of its ambition to ‘level up’ communities.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “We want every resident in Gloucestershire to have an equal opportunity for a healthy and happy life. This additional investment will help us tackle some of the barriers that our communities face by focusing on digital exclusion, the cost of living, online harm and community transport.

“The first phase of our Levelling Up Together fund is making a real impact in our communities and this funding will continue to support people where they need it most.”

You can read the full cabinet report here.

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