Funding boost to help economy bounce back

PROJECTS designed to help the East Sussex economy bounce back from the Covid-19 crisis have secured more than £11 million of Government funding.

All eight projects put forward by East Sussex County Council to deliver jobs and help the county’s economy recover will receive funding as part of the Getting Building Fund.

The county will receive £11.18 million of the £85 million given to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) to support initiatives that will drive economic growth across the region.

The funding will support projects to deliver 445 new jobs and safeguard a further 177 across East Sussex, as well as creating an additional 177 jobs during the construction period. More than 8,000 sqm of commercial space will be unlocked and over 400 new learners will be assisted through new skills facilities and programmes. The funding will also help release an additional £9.7 million in public/private sector contributions, meaning a total investment of nearly £21 million into East Sussex.

Councillor Keith Glazier, Leader of the county council said: “This funding is fantastic news and comes at exactly the right time to help businesses who face unprecedented challenges as they recover from the effects of the Covid-19 crisis and the restrictions put in place.

“Not only will the funding help to safeguard jobs, it will create new positions, which will be welcome news for those people facing redundancy due to the uncertainty caused by the global pandemic.”

The eight projects, which will be delivered over the next 18 months, include the conversion of a building in Newhaven to create commercial space for marine sector businesses, the restoration of a Victorian pavilion in Eastbourne’s Winter Gardens and the creation of retail, leisure, office and community space in the Observer Building in Hastings. They also include the development of the world’s first large-scale solar farm to directly power Direct Current (DC) electrified railways in East Sussex.

Graham Peters, chair of Team East Sussex, the federated growth board to the SELEP, said: “We are delighted by this additional funding which will quickly enable a whole range of exciting projects in areas of real interest across the county.

“These projects reflect the breadth and variety of the East Sussex economy and demonstrate some real innovation, sustainably building on our quality of life and skills base. Crucially they will all aid the county in its recovery from Covid-19.”

With £85 million of funding, the SELEP successfully secured the largest allocation for any LEP area in the UK, and will fund a total of 34 projects across East Sussex, Kent and Essex.

Christian Brodie, SELEP chair, said: “We are delighted that Government has recognised the excellent projects and potential that the South East has to drive forward our economy at this challenging time. These projects have been carefully selected to target those areas and industries particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and those that can progress, at pace, to support economic recovery.

“We truly believe that the South East will help lead the country out of the crisis and into recovery. The Getting Building Fund provides the next phase of financial stimulus to restart our economy.”

The eight East Sussex schemes to receive support from the Getting Building Fund are;

  • Creation of 4,000 sqm of manufacturing space in Hastings
  • Restoration of a Victorian pavilion in Winter Gardens, Eastbourne
  • The development of the world’s first large-scale solar farm to directly power direct current (DC) electrified railways in East Sussex
  • Match-funding to refurbish Sussex Innovation Centre in Falmer to make it a COVID secure work environment
  • Restoration of The Observer Building in Hastings to provide leisure, retail, office, community and studio space
  • Conversion of a building to create an education-led skills training centre in Newhaven with commercial workspace for small and medium enterprises specialising in the marine sector
  • Improvements to access to Charleston’s artists’ house and studio museum
  • Conversion of a building into a co-working hub and café in Fisher Street, Lewes

More information on all 34 SELEP-wide projects is given on the SELEP website at