COMMUNITIES and business across North Yorkshire are set to benefit from more than £22 million in funding through the next phase of a scheme aimed at tackling regional inequalities across the country.

The next round has been launched to provide money from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Rural England Prosperity Fund for North Yorkshire with a host of ambitious opportunities available.

North Yorkshire Council has £16.9 million from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to award by March 31, 2025, to programmes and projects that will improve communities and place, develop skills and support local people and businesses to prosper.

A further £5.4 million from the Rural England Prosperity Fund is also available, aimed at boosting the economic prospects of the county’s rural areas.

The funding and support programmes on offer range from large scale countywide project-led opportunities to small direct grants for local businesses and communities, all administered by North Yorkshire Council.

The first programmes open for applications are the community climate action and business sustainability programmes, which aim to support the decarbonisation of North Yorkshire. Interested parties can apply now for revenue and capital grants, support and sustainability audits.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for open to business, Cllr Derek Bastiman, said: “I am very excited about what can be achieved across the rural, coastal and urban areas of the county in the remaining 18 months of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund programme.

“The wide-ranging support and funding packages available will give those with innovation and ambition the opportunity to help residents, communities and businesses thrive and create a lasting legacy for North Yorkshire.”

A separate programme is available for older people’s residential care homes to apply for a ‘net zero’ audit of their premises – up to 30 audits will be funded.

Additional decarbonisation-themed programmes will go live in the coming months as well as others aligned to the themes of communities, place, boosting productivity, and people and skills, in particular: sports and active wellbeing, village halls and community buildings, small business grants, community grants to reduce inequalities, including health and rural isolation, grants to organisations who can support people seeking employment, development of green skills.

Out of the £22.3 million funding pot, £1.5 million was distributed to communities in the 2022 to 2023 financial year and the council is on track to support programmes to the value of £5.5 million this year. This includes £850,000 on a project to bridge the digital divide, announced last week.