Funding to support economic recovery & to create jobs


Medway Council has received a share of £85million to create an innovative adult learning and skills hub in Gillingham.

The project is one of 34 which has received funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (SELEP) £85million share of the government’s £900million Getting Building Fund. SELEP successfully secured the largest allocation for any Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in the UK. The fund was created to invest in local infrastructure projects to drive economic growth following the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Medway Council has been awarded £1.99million to create the Learning Skills and Employment Hub on the vacant top floor of Britton Farm, a former shopping centre in Gillingham. The hub, which will be run by Medway Adult Education, will focus on supporting adults to retrain, upskill and access employment opportunities. Courses will be tailored towards helping residents gain qualifications for highly skilled jobs which are being created across Medway.

The shopping mall area at Britton Farm will be enhanced through public realm improvements such as removing the canopy to make the area feel more open. The funding also supports the delivery of 44 new affordable homes which are being built in the loading bay of the former supermarket by the council’s own housing company, Medway Development Company (MDC). In addition, MDC is also developing sites at Waterfront, Whiffens Avenue and White Road in Chatham.

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “We are pleased to have received £1.99million funding to create an innovative adult learning and skills hub in Gillingham. Now more than ever, it is important to provide residents with opportunities to learn new skills to enable them to access a wider range of employment opportunities. We have all been impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but Medway is resilient and it is important that we continue to look to the future and continue to seize opportunities to provide growth for all.”

Cllr Rodney Chambers, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Inward Investment, Strategic Regeneration and Partnerships, said: “The new learning and skills hub will provide a number of opportunities for residents to learn new skills for a changing work environment. We are committed to helping our high streets thrive and this project will benefit local residents as well as the local economy and businesses across Medway. I look forward to seeing the hub take shape.”

South East LEP Chair Christian Brodie said: “Britton Farm is an excellent example of exactly what we are hoping to achieve through our Getting Building Fund: backing shovel-ready projects to create new jobs, provide regeneration to our towns’ high streets, and assist learners and those whose careers have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, as quickly as possible.

“This new hub will provide crucial support to at least 350 adults per year who are looking to retrain, upskill and gain access to new employment opportunities, while also helping Gillingham’s local economy by increasing footfall to its high street, due to its location in the heart of the town centre.”

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