Benefits of HS2 revealed, from jobs to community projects

Ealing Council's leaders hear from local residents benefiting from jobs with HS2

HS2 Ltd has awarded £13,445,843 to 236 community projects on Phase One and Phase 2a since 2017, following the launch of the company’s Community and Environment Fund (CEF) and the Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF). 

The funds have supported community groups and business partnerships impacted by the construction of Phase One (London to Birmingham) and Phase 2a (Birmingham to Crewe) of the HS2 project, with community charity Groundwork UK independently administering the funds.

The latest figures, in Groundwork UK’s 2023 annual report confirms projects in Warwickshire have received £1.79m in total, while £2,023,171 has been awarded to 39 projects between London and Crewe in the last 12 months.

Six projects in Warwickshire shared £322,211 in funding in the last year.

In July 2022, Southam in Bloom received a 10k funding boost from HS2 to enhance a series of public green spaces around the town. 

In previous years, HS2’s CEF & BLEF scheme has helped build new state of the art facilities as part of the Warwick 20:20 project, constructed new women’s changing facilities for Stockton Football & Cricket Club and contributed £30k towards an outdoor gym in Radford Semele.

Cathy Elliott, Independent Chair of the HS2 Funds said: “It’s fantastic to be able to report that HS2’s funding programme for line of route communities has awarded £13.4 million since 2017, with over £2 million distributed in the last year to locally-led projects between London and Crewe. 

“I have been lucky enough to visit several projects and see the impact of the funding first-hand, such as the opening of brand new playgrounds and thriving environmental regeneration initiatives. It’s clear to see the significant difference the funding makes and how important it is to local communities.”

The CEF & BLEF schemes will provide up to £45m of funding throughout the construction timeline of HS2, supporting community-led projects that improve the environment, such as tree planting and energy efficiency measures. 

The Funds also support initiatives that bring benefits to local communities, such as the provision of new community facilities or support for local heritage and culture.

Meanwhile, Ealing Council Leader, Cllr Peter Mason and Cllr Bassam Mahfouz, Lead Member for Decent Living Incomes, visited the Old Oak Common site where HS2 is building its new superhub station, to see how the construction programme is supporting local residents into training and employment.

Balfour Beatty VINCI SYSTRA (BBVS), HS2’s construction partner, has made significant progress on the excavation works ready for the station’s six HS2 platforms, which will be built underground. 

They will connect with eight conventional rail platforms at the superhub’s ground level, which will serve destinations on the Great Western Main Line, as well as integrating with east–west Elizabeth line services.

To date, HS2 and its supply chain partners have supported 128 formerly unemployed Ealing residents into new careers, with a further 27 taking up apprenticeship programmes.

Cllr Mason and Cllr Mahfouz met 18-year-old Ealing resident Tyler Pearce-Scott who began his apprenticeship journey with BBVS in 2021. 

Now two years into his Information Communication Technician (ICT) apprenticeship, Tyler is a vital part of the team supporting the complex IT infrastructure across the site. 

His impressive performance has led to further investment in his career development, and Tyler will now progress onto a degree-level IT Apprenticeship later this year.

Tyler, from Ealing, explained he found it hard to readjust to classroom-based study after the pandemic and made the difficult decision to leave sixth form college to find a job.

“Securing an apprenticeship on HS2, which allows me to combine working full-time with a day of online learning, was the perfect fit,” he said. 

“This has been a great career move, and I’m delighted that I’ve completed my Level 3 apprenticeship and will now progress onto a degree-level apprenticeship.”

Elliott Murphy, Skills, Employment and Education Manager for BBVS said:

“We are determined to ensure that local people, like Tyler, become our professional colleagues of tomorrow. Our goal is to leave a sustainable legacy comparable to the iconic station that we are building”.

Commenting on the visit, Cllr Peter Mason, Leader of Ealing Council, said:

“Ealing’s unrivalled transport connectivity will be further boosted by the High Speed 2 station at Old Oak Common – but that’s just the start of the benefits that the renewal of the Old Oak site will offer our borough.

“As part of the UK’s largest and most ambitious regeneration programme, it has already brought thousands of jobs and apprenticeships to the borough and, by adding to the outstanding office and industrial spaces already found here, it will deliver thousands more for generations to come.”

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