UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Rural England Prosperity Fund

Investment in communities and place, supporting local business and people and skills.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is a central pillar of the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda, and a significant component of its support for places across the UK. It provides £2.6 billion of new funding for local investment by March 2025. It replaces European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) such as the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).

UKSPF delivery in Cumberland Council

The three Councils of Allerdale, Carlisle City and Copeland worked closely to ensure that the priorities of our three investment plans were closely aligned to enable delivery by the new authority, as we formed Cumberland Council from 1 April 2023.   

Funding for UKSPF is available for capital and revenue activity for projects that demonstrate alignment and deliverability against the call criteria. Cumberland has been allocated £13,115,256 from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. This is split into;

  • ‘Core’ funding of £10,585,622
  • Rural England Prosperity Fund £2,529,634, which is entirely capital in nature with no additional allowance for revenue activity.

In addition

  • Multiply funding allocated to Cumbria, then split between Cumberland and Westmorland & Furness is managed by Westmorland and Furness Council.

In April 2022, the UK Government published the UK Shared Prosperity Fund Prospectus. The UKSPF will support the UK government’s wider commitment to level up all parts of the UK by delivering on each of the levelling up objectives:

  • Boost productivity, pay, jobs and living standards by growing the private sector, especially in those places where they are lagging
  • Spread opportunities and improve public services, especially in those places where they are weakest
  • Restore a sense of community, local pride and belonging, especially in those places where they have been lost
  • Empower local leaders and communities, especially in those places lacking local agency.

This will be achieved through three UKSPF Pillars which are:

Pillar 1: Community and Place

Strengthening our social fabric and fostering a sense of local pride and belonging and building resilient and safe neighbourhoods.

The UKSPF interventions Cumberland Council will deliver are: 

E1: Funding for improvements to town centres and high streets, including better accessibility for disabled people, including capital spend and running costs.  

E4: Enhanced support for existing cultural, historic and heritage institutions that make up the local cultural heritage offer.  

E6: Support for local arts, cultural, heritage and creative activities.  

E8: Funding for the development and promotion of wider campaigns which encourage people to visit and explore the local area.  

E10: Funding for local sports facilities, tournaments, teams, and leagues; to bring people together.  

E14: Funding to support relevant feasibility studies. 

Pillar 2: Supporting local business

Creating jobs and boosting community cohesion, promoting networking and collaboration and increasing private sector investment in growth-enhancing activities.

The UKSPF interventions Cumberland Council will deliver are: 

E16: Investment in open markets and improvements to town centre retail and service sector infrastructure, with wrap around support for small businesses.  

E17: Funding for the development and promotion (both trade and consumer) of the visitor economy, such as local attractions, trails, tours and tourism products more generally.  

E23: Strengthening local entrepreneurial ecosystems and supporting businesses at all stages of their development to start, sustain, grow and innovate, including through local networks  

E:26 Support for growing the local social economy, including community businesses, cooperatives and social enterprises  

E30: Business support measures to drive employment growth, particularly in areas of higher unemployment 

Pillar 3: People and skills

Boosting core skills and supporting adults to progress in work, by targeting adults with no or low-level qualifications and skills in maths, and upskilling the working population, supporting disadvantaged people to access the skills they need to progress in life and into work; supporting local areas to fund local skills needs and supplement local adult skills provision; and reducing levels of economic inactivity and moving those furthest from the labour market closer to employment.

The UKSPF interventions Cumberland Council will deliver are: 

E33: Employment support for economically inactive people: Intensive and wrap-around one-to-one support to move people closer towards mainstream provision and employment, supplemented by additional and/or specialist life and basic skills (digital, English, maths* and ESOL) support where there are local provision gaps.  

E35: Activities such as enrichment and volunteering to improve opportunities and promote wellbeing. (Former Copeland area only)  

E36: Intervention to increase levels of digital inclusion, with a focus on essential digital skills, communicating the benefits of getting (safely) online, and in-community support to provide users with the confidence and trust to stay online.  

E38: Support for local areas to fund local skills needs. This includes technical and vocational qualifications and courses up to level 2 and training for vocational licences relevant to local area needs and high-value qualifications where there is a need for additional skills capacity that is not being met through other provision. 

This includes the Multiply programme, which is described below.


Multiply is a new government-funded programme to help adults across the UK to brush up their numeracy skills and boost their number confidence. It is an element of Pillar 3, People and Skills, within the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, to which up to £559m of the £2.6bn total UKSPF has been allocated by government to local areas.

The Multiply Programme will be managed by the Department of Education and will feature both national and local elements. The overall objective of Multiply is to increase the levels of functional numeracy in the adult population across the UK. The following success measures have been identified for the whole programme at national level:

  • More adults achieving maths qualifications courses (up to, and including, Level 2 – with GCSEs and FSQs as the qualifications of choice in England – or equivalent) and an increase in participation in numeracy courses.
  • Improved labour market outcomes e.g. fewer numeracy skills gaps reported by employers, and an increase in the proportion of adults that progress into sustained employment and/or education.
  • Increased adult numeracy across the population– tracking the perceive and actual different taking part in the programme makes on learner’s daily lives at home and work.

Rural England Prosperity Fund

On the 3rd September 2022, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) launched the Rural England Prosperity Fund, a top up to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) worth up to £110 Million for 2023/24 and 2024/25.

It is the domestic successor to the EU funded LEADER programme used to support the development of rural economies, and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

Cumberland has been allocated £2,529,634. For REPF, beneficiaries must be located within the areas covered by the previous Allerdale, Carlisle (excluding Carlisle city) and Copeland Council areas. View the administrative boundaries of eligibility for the REPF and select the Rural England Prosperity Fund layer under Administrative Geographies

The Rural Fund supports the aims of the government’s Levelling Up White Paper and Future Farming Programme. It funds capital projects for small businesses (micro and small) and community infrastructure.

It supports activities that specifically address the particular challenges rural areas face, identified as:

  • Lower productivity rates
  • Poorer connectivity
  • Poorer access to key services

The REPF interventions Cumberland Council will deliver are:

1.1: capital grant funding for small scale investment in micro and small enterprises in rural areas

1.2: capital grant funding for growing the local social economy and supporting innovation (former Allerdale area only)

1.3: capital grant funding for developing and promoting the visitor economy

2.3: capital grant funding for creation and improvement to local rural green spaces 

2.5: capital grants funding for local arts, cultural, heritage and creative activities 

2.7: capital grant funding for rural circular economy projects (former Allerdale area only)

2.8: capital grant funding for impactful volunteering and social action projects to develop human capital in local places (former Allerdale area only)

The Rural Fund can support investments in interventions starting from 1 April 2023.

Local Partnership Group

During preparation of our investment plans, we consulted with a variety of partners and stakeholders through focus group sessions and an expression of interest survey. A Local Partnership Group was formed - made up of representatives from strategic organisations from across the local area. Our investment plans were shaped by feedback from this consultation and engagement, an assessment of the ambitions, needs and opportunities of the area and the priorities of our Council Plans.

We will be adding further information and the funding calls shortly.

Key Documents

Funding will be primarily distributed following applications against a range of Funding Calls. Each Funding Call will set out key information such as the priorities for delivery, funding available, outputs and outcomes and eligibility criteria.

Where relevant, a breakdown of capital and revenue funding available is included within the specific Project Funding Calls.

Applications will be invited against the Funding Calls from any organisation that can demonstrate it has the capacity and capability to deliver its aims. Projects will be assessed on their relative merits against other project proposals and applicants must demonstrate how they will deliver key UKSPF/REPF outputs and outcomes.


Any events that we run in relation to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in Cumberland will be available here.

Keeping in touch

You can keep up to date with regular news, activity, sounding groups and other events related to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in Cumberland by checking this webpage, or through joining our UKSPF Mailing List by emailing

All enquiries related to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund should be emailed to

Other Useful Links:

UK Shared Prosperity Fund: prospectus - GOV.UK (

Multiply: funding available to improve adult numeracy skills - GOV.UK (

Rural England Prosperity Fund: prospectus - GOV.UK (