£2.8m deal helps put Erewash on map

A £2.8MILLION boost for Erewash that the town hall clinched from central government is putting the borough on the map as it improves the lives of residents, a new report reveals.

The update on the funding was welcomed by the authority’s leader James Dawson and his top team – as they gave the go-ahead to using more of the money to attract visitors to the borough and help the local economy.

The report to the Council Executive spelled out all the ways the cash is already being injected into the community, such as creating jobs as it gives a shot in the arm to local businesses. Employers are benefitting from research and development grants – and new high street shops have been opening thanks to money to pay for their signage.

Dozens of smaller grants have been helping community projects and volunteer groups to thrive.

Big projects include a new nature reserve where Ilkeston’s Pewit golf course used to be – plus £400,000 for Long Eaton to get a new children’s fun park featuring state-of-the-of-art play gear. The attraction is being built at the town’s West Park. Another £400,000 is paying for a new 3G sports pitch at Ilkeston’s Rutland Sports Park.

A major drive to tout the borough as a place to enjoy leisure time is already underway using some of the cash from what the previous Government labelled the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It has seen the launch of a Visit Erewash campaign and includes an interactive website that can be found here: A day out in Erewash - Visit Erewash - Derbyshire on your doorstep (visit-erewash.co.uk)

Attractions include the iconic Bennerley Viaduct near Cotmanhay. It too has received money from the pot of funding that the council won and which began pouring into the borough last year. The money has helped to secure the future of the authority’s cultural hub – the Erewash Museum near Ilkeston’s Market Place.

Another bid to attract visitors is one of two new projects that the funding will fuel. The double boost got the green light from the Council Executive at a meeting on Tuesday 9 July. A “Place Promotion” campaign will back up the Visit Erewash initiative by seeing more cultural events being held. Enhanced marketing will give a plug to what the borough has to offer – such as parks and markets.

Meanwhile a Skills Support Project will be aimed at residents who struggle to lead productive lives and who are often in supported accommodation – which is a drain on council resources.

The scheme involves “one-to-one support to move people closer to mainstream skills provision, including through specialist life and basic skills support”.

The two projects will be funded with £139,169 that was previously earmarked to launch trials of a “Community Shuttle” bus to the top of Bath Street in Ilkeston.

The idea was to improve accessibility up the steep hill. But the council has been unable to find an operator – and insurance quotes were astronomical. The council, which is having to cut its cloth amid a squeeze on its finances, would also have faced huge bills to keep such a service going once the SPF money ran out.