Council reallocates £600k of funding to support communities


Friday, 19 January, 2024

Last night (18 January 2024), members of Woking Borough Council’s Executive agreed to reallocate £601,000 of external funding to support six community projects.

In 2022 the council received £1million from the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), which was launched to help councils build pride in place and increase life chances.

The council’s original investment plan submitted to Government in 2022 included £601,000 to support the delivery of the borough’s 2022-2025 Digital Strategy. Last night, the council’s Executive agreed to reallocate this funding to six priority projects, which will directly benefit Woking residents.

The following sums were agreed by members:

  • £150,000 to support the transition of pavilion ownership to sports organisations and the costs involved with maintenance and utilities. 
  • £140,000 to support the transition of community centre management to community groups and the costs involved with maintenance and utilities. 
  • £130,000 to help The Lightbox establish a new operating model.
  • £101,000 for parks and play areas, specifically improvements to safety surfacing, footpaths and car park areas.
  • £50,000 to establish an independent ‘Place Board’ for Woking, which will work collaboratively to attract inward investment and support local businesses. 
  • £30,000 to support Citizen’s Advice move to a more sustainable business model and secure funding from alternative sources.   

Cllr Will Forster, Woking Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for the Voluntary Sector, said: “This decision is about using funding in a positive way to minimise the impact of the council’s financial position on communities and local businesses. It shows that this council is prepared to think creatively, reprioritise and direct support to where it is needed most.

“We’ve had to make some really tough decisions this year. I’m glad that by utilising this funding sensibly we can show organisations like The Lightbox and Citizen’s Advice that we value them and we are willing to do everything within our gift to support them.”

Sarah Brown, Director of The Lightbox, said: “This is very welcome news. The UKSPF funding will help support The Lightbox to remain open to audiences. It will enable us to develop a new operating model that continues to deliver our charitable objectives working with creativity, artists, local Woking communities and schools, but importantly, is underpinned by a strong and sustainable philanthropic and commercial model."

The council will now submit a change request to Government to formally agree the proposed replacement projects.  

Read the Executive report in full

Further information

  • The six priority projects identified in the report meet the UKSPF criteria for the funding available, which must be spent by the end of March 2025.
  • Of the remaining £399,000, £349,000 has been allocated previously to green infrastructure improvements within the borough and £50,000 committed to the Surrey decarbonisation programme in 2024/25.
  • To date the council has spent £134,517 on improvements at Horsell Moor and Oakfield play areas.