Eco-friendly projects in Oldham have received a substantial boost, after securing vital funding from the recent Levelling Up announcement this past Wednesday, with the £20m injection coming as one of three successful bids across Greater Manchester.

Dave Catherall (Project Lead for FOUNDATION) at Oldham Council, states "the FOUNDATION Action Plan identified an action that was to hold the first stakeholder group for the Green Tech Sector in Oldham, to involve both public sector agencies and private businesses. The action plan was formulated from work undertaken by Aleron that explored opportunities within this sector. The report also recommended working towards a GTS cluster and the developing a new business centre to support that work.

In the absence of future EU Structural Funds the UK Government had provided national funds through the Levelling Up and UK Shared Prosperity Fund programmes. This money has now been secured to build a new “Green Shoots” business centre, and an “Oldham Greenway.” Through this funding, opportunities for local people and GTS businesses will see a significant boost through increased levels of connectivity, sustainability, innovation and job creation.

Oldham Council Leader Amanda Chadderton said:

“Oldham has so much potential and as a Council we continue to do everything in our power to help our communities and our borough thrive.

“We welcome the £20 million we’ve secured for our Greener Oldham projects in the borough. This proves Government has confidence in our regeneration plans and the work we are doing throughout our Creating a Better Place programme – creating a town where people want to live, work and visit.

“Towns like ours have been hit hardest by austerity, the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis. But despite this we remain one of the most entrepreneurial towns in the UK. This project was first identified in the regional action plan from the Foundation project funded by ERDF

“We have a clear direction for Oldham and have worked with partners to identify exciting projects as part of our Levelling Up bids, which will help us to build a better borough and future. So much work has gone into this successful bid, and it’s great to see that our ambition has been recognised and invested in.”

Oldham East and Saddleworth’s successful bid will provide support for Greener Oldham’s commitment to being a carbon neutral borough through the following three projects:

The Green Shoots Centre: An innovative business centre which will bolster environment technology start-ups, based at Rhodes Bank. This transformative centre will be entirely net zero, powered through the use of renewable energy, including a mine water system.

Northern Roots Learning Centre: A robust education facility based at the Northern Roots project, an initiative to create the UK’s largest urban farm on land near Alexandra Park. This space will be integral to training for green and sustainable skills that will support the Green Shoots Centre, whilst also strengthening environmental skills through vocational courses.

The Oldham Greenway: Linking the Green Shoots Centre, new town centre Jubilee Park and Northern Roots together, enabling residents with the opportunity to travel by bike or on foot to new venues across the town.

The Levelling Up bids follow Oldham Council's successful applications to secure Towns Fund and Future High Streets Fund grants of £24.4m and £10.75m, respectively.