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£20m boost to make Middlesbrough healthier, safer and more ambitious

Development and regeneration

Monday, 19 February 2024
Deputy Mayor Philippa Storey and Mayor Chris Cooke

A major £20m funding injection will help make Middlesbrough and its town centre healthier, safer and more ambitious.

Mayor Chris Cooke has welcomed a government-backed plan designed to improve people’s lives by tackling health and economic inequalities and battling antisocial behaviour.

The money comes from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) Levelling Up Partnerships initiative, which aims to target funding at projects which will revitalise high streets, healthcare, transport and education, and create more affordable housing.

In Middlesbrough, the money will improve health and employment services, deliver a huge boost to skills, training and adult education in partnership with Middlesbrough College and could help transform an empty town centre department store building into a cultural hub

Mayor Cooke said: "We’re working to build a healthier, safer and ambitious Middlesbrough and all of these projects will help to improve people’s lives.

"I’m focused on recovering the Council’s financial position so we can reset the organisation and concentrate on delivering the services people need and value.

"We’re prioritising a high proportion of the funding on children and adults who need it most so that no one is left behind. At the same time, we’re investing more in measures to fight crime and antisocial behaviour so we can give even more support to Cleveland Police.

"I’m pleased that the programme we’ve designed will give our town centre a shot in the arm and also fund new services for the people of East Middlesbrough and Hemlington."

As part of the bid, the basement and ground floor of the huge former House of Fraser building on Linthorpe Road could be transformed into a cultural venue for music and other creative arts.

The investment in the town centre will also see an expanded Live Well Centre relocate to the Cleveland Centre. Currently based in Dundas Arcade, the Live Well Centre offers support on healthy living and also hosts NHS services.

It will move to a more prominent location opposite Centre Square, alongside a new employment hub which will be the home of Middlesbrough’s Community Learning Service. It delivers courses including apprenticeships to boost the employability of local people.

Middlesbrough was selected as a Levelling Up Partnership by government after analysis around the need for investment in outcomes that would affect life expectancy, skills and the job market. Neighbouring Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council will also receive £20m from the fund.

The new funding can only be spent on the specific projects identified and as such doesn’t affect the Council’s reported budget position.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: “We are working hand-in-hand with local leaders in Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland, as well as across Teesside and the Mayor of Tees Valley to drive forward levelling up.

“These two Levelling Up Partnerships come on top of the government’s other support for the area including the Teesside Freeport and Investment Zone, the new £20m long-term plan for Eston, the new Economic Campus in Darlington, and Levelling Up Fund projects in Hartlepool, Redcar and Cleveland, and Stockton on Tees.”

In Middlesbrough, the package will also see huge investment in education, temporary accommodation for vulnerable people and families and a £1.9m boost for measures to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour.

Over £1m will be spent on Live Well East, the new Council hub in Berwick Hills. The centre will be a base for various services and see them delivered more directly and conveniently for local people.

The Council will work with Middlesbrough College to provide £2.2m for improved facilities to support construction, welding and healthcare courses which will address skills gaps in the town and the wider region.

An adult learning centre will also open with £3.7m of funding to support the purchase of a large building on Russell Street, which will support Middlesbrough College in boosting employability by delivering skills bootcamps and free courses.

Zoe Lewis, principal and Chief Executive Officer at Middlesbrough College Group, said: “This is such an exciting time for the College and for everyone involved in expanding and improving learning opportunities for people right across the Tees Valley.

“Securing this additional funding will mean we can do even more to help students achieve their career goals, regardless of the issues and challenges they may face, and increase the number of skilled, qualified and motivated workers in the region.

“Our mission has always been to help our students aim higher and succeed in whatever they set their sights on doing and this latest funding will go a long way towards achieving that.”

The DLUHC funding will also support the creation of a new youth services and training centre in Hemlington and see further investment in the Council’s existing Family Hubs.

Full business cases for each of the projects will be developed by DLUHC.