PROGRESS on Keighley’s £4.8 million jobs-boosting Community Led Local Development programme has been highlighted to councillors.

Keighley Area Committee heard that CLLD – which will create jobs and support businesses in deprived neighbourhoods – began in earnest this summer.

In July businesses and organisations were invited to tender for contracts to run the first wave of projects in parts of Keighley East, West and Central wards.

A second and final ‘call’ for project runners will be issued in October, after which the entire programme will become operational.

The area committee, part of Bradford Council, heard that CLLD was a new way of supporting local development projects, using European Structural Investment funds.

Half the money will come from Europe, with the rest in hoped-for matched funding from other organisations. Bradford Council has pledged at least £250,000.

CLLD adopts a “bottom-up” approach, involving local people in developing projects, finding innovative methods to address local challenges, and making the best use of existing local resources.

A Local Action Group of public, private and voluntary organisations, along with residents, has devised a strategy based on the vision of making Keighley an “enterprising, aspirational and positive place” by 2022.

Aims include creating more jobs locally; helping existing businesses and start-ups; helping people confidence to find work and training; and helping people start a business.

CLLD says it will support 600 people, including 377 unemployed, 223 “economically inactive”, 200 over-50s, 200 ethnic minorities, and 118 with disabilities including mental health issues.

It aims to help 155 people into education or training, 85 people into jobs including self-employment, create 100 new jobs, and support 100 enterprises including 75 new ones.

Specific projects include improving low-level skills amongst young people and adults, including basic skills, language and communication, personal development, ICT skills and employability.

There will be a small-scale business grants and voucher scheme to support start-up, growth, and accessing business space and equipment.

Small businesses of the same type will be encouraged to collaborate on mutually-beneficial issues such as retaining skilled people and providing further training.

Small and medium-sized businesses, including start-ups, will be given mentoring, business planning support, and advice on skills, productivity and quality improvement.

There will be a work buddy programme for micro-businesses and unemployed residents, and practical support for employers to overcome barriers to recruiting people with disabilities.

At its latest meeting the area committee welcomed the investment that CLLD would bring to Keighley, and requested another progress report in February next year.