Guest post: A year of Good Growth

Cllr Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for the economy, reflects on the first anniversary of the £137m Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Good Growth Programme

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As the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Good Growth programme reaches its one-year milestone, it is with great pride that I reflect on the positive impact it is already having on communities across Cornwall and Scilly.

A year ago, the Government’s formal approval of the £137.6 million Good Growth Investment Plan marked a pivotal moment, setting the stage for transformative investments across Cornwall and Scilly.

That plan was drawn together by Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly after consulting communities, businesses and organisations across the area about what they wanted to see from a locally-based investment programme.

We wanted to take a new approach to investment, focusing on green and inclusive growth, levelling up opportunities for communities with access to new jobs and training. Good Growth is about nurturing a place where everyone can start well, live well and age well, while working towards our vision of being carbon neutral by 2030.

The Good Growth programme is funded by a combination of £132m from the Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund and £5.6m from the Rural Prosperity Fund. But how that money is spent is decided entirely by a local Economic Prosperity Board which is made up of elected members from Cornwall Council and the Council of the Isles of Scilly.

In the last year, a remarkable 134 projects, totalling £193 million in value, have been approved for more than £130m of investment, signalling our commitment to boosting our communities, enhancing businesses, and fostering skills development.

It’s heartening to note that 20 projects span all of Cornwall, with an additional 37 covering both Cornwall and Scilly, showcasing the programme’s comprehensive reach.

The diversity of these projects underscores the strategic approach taken by the Good Growth programme, envisioning a future that is both dynamic and sustainable.

From small grants of just a few thousand pounds helping to make a huge difference to local businesses, to grassroots community projects to transform places and spaces, right through to large-scale strategic investments in both established and emerging industries and Cornish culture and heritage, the breadth of investment is impressive.

One example is the £60,000 Good Growth grant awarded to St Mewan Parish Council near St Austell to create the Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Garden for all the village to enjoy, complete with sensory garden and outdoor gym equipment. Retired local resident Alan Wynne said it had become a place for all generations to come together. “If you get people of all ages, you get people talking, don’t you? That makes a better village,” he said.

I couldn’t agree more.

Another project is the £598,500 awarded to manufacturing business ELIQUO HYDROK at Indian Queens. It makes water treatment technology to improve the environment and has used the money to invest in robotic welding machinery to help it keep up with demand for its products. With a commitment to employing and training local people, the business plans to grow its apprenticeship programme on the back of the Good Growth investment.

Crucial to the success of each Good Growth-funded project has been the adherence to the Good Growth principles—guiding criteria that we established to prioritise clean and inclusive economic growth. From reducing carbon dioxide emissions to upskilling the workforce, paying decent wages and promoting environmental growth, these principles embody a holistic vision for our region’s prosperity.

Our immediate focus is on making sure that we spend our full allocation of funding before the Government’s deadline of March 2025. And with the lion’s share of funds already allocated to projects, we are well on our way to achieving that.

That doesn’t mean the money has run out. Millions of pounds remain available for local businesses and community projects. Grants ranging from £5,000 to £200,000 are on offer, providing support for projects aligned with the Good Growth programme’s objectives. For more on that visit the Good Growth website.

But we’re not resting on our laurels. Our attention has already turned to sustaining momentum and attracting continued Government investment post-March 2025, ensuring that our positive growth trajectory persists. We know from the number of applications we received for funding that there is still great demand. The job is not yet done, and we continue to signal that to Government at every opportunity.

As we mark the accomplishments of the past year, the Good Growth program embodies our collective vision for a more equal, resilient, and prosperous Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.

To learn more about this transformative initiative and explore opportunities for future involvement, visit the Good Growth website and join us in shaping the future of our region.