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Groundwork to administer £40m HS2 funding for communities and businesses

Posted on 24 February 2017

Groundwork has today been named as the administrators of HS2 funding to offset the disruption of Phase One of HS2 on local communities and businesses. 

Following Royal Assent, the £40 million HS2 Community and Environment Fund (CEF) and Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF) will be available during the construction and the first year of operation of the high speed rail link between London and the West Midlands over the next 11 years.

The two Funds available which were originally announced in October 2014 are:

  • The Community and Environment Fund (CEF) will provide benefits to local communities demonstrably disrupted by the construction of HS2;
  • and the Business and Local Economy Fund will support and promote local economies that are demonstrably disrupted by the construction of HS2.

Application guidance information for interested organisations is available online from today at  The Funds will be open for online applications from Wednesday 8 March this year.

The management of the Funds has been outsourced to Groundwork as a result of a competitive tender to act as an independent grant-management body, and will see the charity managing the end to end delivery of the £40 million combined Funds, leading on the promotion of the Funds, working with bidders to develop applications, receiving and assessing applications, being responsible for overseeing the payment of grants and monitoring the progress of successful grants. 

Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s national CEO, said: "We’re delighted to be supporting HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport to ensure as many communities as possible are able to take advantage of the opportunity provided by these funding streams to transform the places that matter to them.  Having worked closely with communities, businesses and councils across the country for 35 years, we know how this kind of support can be instrumental in transforming places and the prospects of local areas.”

Cathy Elliot, the Independent Chair of the Funds, said: "The Funds will provide support for good quality bids from communities demonstrably disrupted by construction.  We want to assure potential applicants that rigorous management of the funding available will ensure that money is available throughout the construction of phase one, and there will be no advantages of submitting early or disadvantages of submitting them later during the construction period."

Four independent members of the Funds’ panel have been appointed by HS2 Ltd, following an open recruitment process.  The appointed panel members are Lisa Smart, John Roseveare, Talbinder Kaur and Sara Turnbull.  They have experience in the delivery of successful community-led environmental projects, a track record in providing advice and support to small and medium-sized businesses, experience of managing local government or third sector grant programmes.  These four individuals have been recruited to sit alongside Cathy Elliott, who has been the Independent Chair of the Fund since January 2016.  Peter Miller, Environment Director for HS2 will join the panel as HS2’s representative. 

Both Funds have now been launched and all relevant guidance documentation is now available on the following website:

Click here for further information


1.1         High Speed Two (HS2) is a new, high speed north-south railway. It is being taken forward in two phases: Phase One is between London, Birmingham and the West Midlands.  The High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Act (the Act) received Royal Assent in early 2017. Phase Two will extend the route to Manchester, Leeds and beyond subject to future Parliamentary approval.

1.2         The Secretary of State has published Environmental Minimum Requirements (EMR) which set out the environmental and sustainability commitments that will be observed in the design and construction of HS2.

1.3         In October 2014, Government announced two funding programmes to offset the disruption of Phase One of HS2 on local communities – the Community and Environment Fund (CEF) and the Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF).

1.4         A combined total of £40 million has been made available for these two funds (exclusive of administration costs) over a period of 11 years throughout the Phase One construction period and for the first year of operation of HS2 services.

1.5         Combined indicative regional allocations for both CEF and BLEF were publicly announced by the Transport Secretary on the 12th October 2016. These allocations are as follows;

  • £7.5 million for the Greater London area.
  • £15 million allocated for the Central area (Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire).
  • £7.5 million for the West Midlands area (Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry).
  • £10 million will remain unallocated to allow flexibility to fund bids for cross-border, route-wide projects, as well as to fund bids from other areas affected by the construction of the Proposed Scheme, but geographically separated from the main route (such as off route construction as contained within the High Speed Rail Bill).

1.6         Both funds will allocate awards from the same £40 million funding pot and so the amounts allocated from each fund will depend of the number and quality of applications.