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The Business and Local Economy Fund

What is the Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF)?

The BLEF fund has been created to add benefit over and above committed mitigation and statutory compensation to support local economies that are demonstrably disrupted by the construction of HS2.

Applications will be invited for capital or revenue funding from £10,000 up to a maximum of £1 million. Through this funding, we are looking to fund interventions that will have a positive impact on local economies (this may include a number of small schemes that are brought together in a package of interventions).

Funding of less than £75,000 will typically be for short term kick-starter projects and support between £75,000 and £1 million will typically be for long-term development projects.

Note: 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.

Who can apply for funding?

Primarily this funding programme is targeted at organisations which have formal objectives that support the development of local business/tourism.

You are eligible to apply for funding if your organisation is formally established for public benefit and is not for profit.

Other organisations may be eligible to apply for funding too eg non-statutory bodies who have a governing document. More information on eligible organisations is included in the guidance document.

We will not directly fund individuals, limited liability partnerships, private sector company/business or any organisation that cannot demonstrate appropriate governance.

Examples of BLEF projects:

The below examples are illustrative and we look to local business support organisations, including Local Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and Trade Associations to identify appropriate projects which will help maintain business activity in local communities disrupted by the construction of HS2.

  • Schemes to improve the local public realm, especially in retail and tourist areas;
  • Improved local cycling and pedestrian access to local economic centres;
  • General promotional activity for local economic benefit;
  • Creating and running events that increase footfall or promote business activity during seasonal periods (for example, farmers markets);
  • Employment and job creation schemes;
  • Town/village discount cards to retain spend in local areas and;
  • Projects that aim to increase tourist visits to an area.

Please note: For projects located near the interface between Phase One, Phase 2a  and Phase 2b in North Warwickshire, we ask applicants to check the published environmental statements in order to ensure that your project will not be impacted by the construction of Phase 2a or 2b. The relevant documents can be found below. 

Phase 2a Environmental Statement

Phase 2a Equality Impact Assessment

Phase 2b Working Draft Environmental Statement (WDES)

Phase 2b Working Draft Equality Impact Assessment (WDEqIA)

Funds are currently only open for areas disrupted by Phase 1 of HS2 and so the Phase 2a and 2b environmental statements should not be used to evidence disruption in your application.

Alternative and Accessible Formats

If you experience or anticipate any barriers with our application process, require help to make an application, or accessing our services and information, please contact us to discuss the type of support we can provide.

More information:

HS2 Community Funds - 2019 Independent Panel dates

Find out when chosen projects will be decided

Read more

Application Process Flowcharts

Find out more about the application process for CEF and BLEF funding.

Read more

Business fund FAQs

This section answers Frequently Asked Questions about applying for the HS2 Business & Local Economy Fund.

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Business Fund guidance

Get more detailed information about the Business & Local Economy Fund.

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Project Toolkit

Groundwork has created a step by step guide to making your project a reality.

Read more