More than £220,000 has been invested in projects that support businesses and community organisations in the Vale of White Horse.

Among the recipients is the ultra-low and zero emission business Velocity Cycle Couriers, which was awarded a grant for its OxFarm to Fork project.

This scheme allows for short food supply chains to be established between farmers in the Vale of White Horse and Oxford University colleges.

The funding was drawn from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Rural England Prosperity Fund, a scheme for rural businesses and organisations initiated as part of the government's Levelling Up agenda.


Herald Series: Velocity Cycle CouriersVelocity Cycle Couriers (Image: Velocity)

Jake Swinhoe, director of Velocity Cycle Couriers, said: "The funding we received will increase the productivity and yield of Blacklands Organics, a Vale of White Horse farm and a key contributor of organic vegetables now finding their way from fields in the vale to the kitchens of Oxford colleges.

"The funding will also enable us to maintain the freshness and quality of the produce by installing a chiller room at Velocity HQ, where we transfer vegetables and salads from fully electric vans to electric cargo bikes for speedy, sustainable delivery directly to chefs in the college kitchens."

Other projects which have benefited from the funding include the Vale of White Horse District Council's Ride Revolution scheme, which collects, refurbishes and redistributes unused bicycles to the community.

Funds were also allocated to MakeSpace, a community interest company, to develop a community-led arts project in Abingdon.

The project has delivered more than 60 workshops, ranging from upcycling and dance sessions to community exhibitions and mural painting.

As the council continues to finalise plans for this year’s allocation of the funding, it has revealed there will be additional money awarded in the next round of the Rural England Prosperity Fund.

Councillor Neil Fawcett, Vale of White Horse District Council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: "Projects such as the Ride Revolution scheme and the MakeSpace arts sessions in Abingdon are excellent examples of the good work the UK Shared Prosperity Fund is being put to locally - bringing a whole host of benefits to our communities.

"Our rural businesses often face very specific challenges.

"As demonstrated with these successful projects, such as OxFarm to Fork, these grant schemes are actively helping rural business and organisations to grow and develop.

"In turn, this will have the knock-on effect of increasing prosperity across our rural communities.

"The Rural England Prosperity Fund is important in helping us deliver on our priorities – as well as improving community and economic wellbeing."