Local communities and businesses are reaping the benefit of the A14 Community Fund, which was launched to help those connected to the A14 upgrade.
Launched in July 2016, the A14 Community Fund was initiated by Highways England and has already seen £110,000 of the £400,000 set aside for funding used to benefit a number of projects.
For those living along the A14 in Cambridgeshire – which is part of a £1.5 billion road upgrade – grants of up to £10,000 are available in quarterly grant rounds until either the end of 2020 or when all money has been allocated.
Projects in health, environment, heritage, culture and arts have all taken advantage of the grant scheme.
One of the beneficiaries of the A14 Community Fund is the Cambridge Science Centre, which successfully bid for funding to create a cross-disciplinary workshop for secondary school children, which investigates the materials used on road construction projects, and how environmental considerations are taken into account throughout construction.
More than 2,000 are believed to have benefited from the scheme already. It has enabled to Countryside Restoration Trust to support water voles in the area of the A14 improvements, which is the largest road project in the UK and will upgrade a 21-mile stretch of the road.
Elsewhere, almost £10,000 has been allocated to create a convenience store in a small village for the local community, while others have seen bicycle parking facilities built.
Gerard Smith is the legacy lead for the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon project at Highways England.
He said the A14 Community Fund supports those projects that benefit the community.
“This different approach to community engagement is a first for Highways England.
“An initiative like the A14 Community Fund makes it possible for us to support community-led projects that will leave a positive legacy for the local area long after we have finished our construction work and the new road is open to traffic.
“I’m delighted to say it’s been very successful in supporting great projects so far.”