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Clackmannanshire Council Online

Major milestone for City Region Deal with Clacks Fund projects announced

Published on:


December 2021

Two projects that will boost innovation and economic transformation in Clackmannanshire are set to share up to £8m from the Clacks Fund as part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal.  

The UK Government Clacks Fund was set up for capital projects in the County and at a Joint Committee meeting this week, the University of Stirling and the Japanese Garden at Cowden projects both officially became part of the City Region Deal.  

They have now been invited to submit more detailed proposals and will receive funding subject to approval of the business cases in support of these proposals. 

The University has been awarded £7.25m to develop an Intergenerational Living Innovation Hub in Clackmannanshire. The Hub will create a research and development platform that will respond to the demands of an ageing population, transforming the narrative from one of challenge to opportunity. 

Through pioneering novel approaches to ways of living, working and socialising, the Hub will develop solutions that enhance well-being as we age, driving inward investment, providing access to skilled work, and supporting prosperity. It will incorporate a state-of-the-art infrastructure and a development zone which will enable businesses to embrace the opportunities presented by an ageing population by undertaking at-scale research, product and service development and testing, skills development and training.
By 2026, Clackmannanshire is expected to experience the largest increase in population aged 75 and older for any Scottish local authority, while a significant drop in the number of people of working age will see a changing balance between generations. The Hub will respond to this challenge by making Clackmannanshire into a world-leading region for research and innovation; not just supporting an ageing population, but transforming the relationship between older and younger people, helping generations to stay connected, within and beyond their communities.

Through developing new housing models that can adapt to changing needs, innovative savings products for retirement, and innovations that can help people remain independent, continue to work, or remain economically active, the Hub will help the ageing process become more sustainable.

The Japanese Garden at Cowden was awarded £750,000 which, with match funding, will be used towards the development of permanent visitor facilities. This will allow the Japanese Garden to meet the demand for a substantial increase in visitor numbers from people looking for an outdoor experience following the pandemic. 

The Garden, which was originally commissioned by the explorer Ella Christie in 1908 after an inspiring visit to Kyoto and has been described as the most important Japanese garden in the Western World, has already expanded its operations and currently employs around 30 people. 

As part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, the UK Government committed up to £8 million for capital projects in Clackmannanshire to boost innovation, internationalisation and economic transformation.

The Clackmannanshire Commission, made up of local public, private and third sector organisations, received a range of bids and worked with the UK Government to allocate funding. 

They have now been invited to submit more detailed proposals and will receive funding subject to approval of the business cases in support of  these proposals. 

Cllr Ellen Forson, Chair of the Clackmannanshire Commission, said:
“Clackmannanshire is an exciting place to be and the Clacks Fund announcement is another step forward in unlocking further opportunity and potential within the County to ensure that we deliver economic growth in a way that benefits our residents and communities.

“We are delighted to be working with the University of Stirling and the Japanese Garden at Cowden on these exciting projects.”

Professor Sir Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said:

“We know that across the world, populations are ageing, disrupting traditional economic and social patterns, and creating demand for new technologies, products and services. Thanks to the £7.25m investment in the University of Stirling, provided through the Clackmannanshire Fund, the Intergenerational Living Innovation Hub will put Clackmannanshire at the epicentre of ageing research, breaking new ground in the advances that make a meaningful difference to communities locally, and across the world”.    

Sara Stewart, Chair of the Japanese Garden Trust, said: 

“This funding is vital for our plans to continue to develop our unique new tourist attraction which generates much needed revenue and investment into Clackmannanshire’s economy. 

“The fund is also helping to restore an asset of outstanding national importance, not just of historic value but as a work of art.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said:  
"These two fantastic projects, supported by the UK Government's £8 million Clackmannanshire fund, will bring jobs, visitors and further investment to the area.

"Together they will build upon Clackmannanshire's existing strengths while also developing innovative solutions to international challenges as people live longer.    

"The UK Government is levelling up communities and building back better from the pandemic, and we are investing more than £1.7 billion into projects with local partners across Scotland to do this."