City Deal and Inclusive Future Fund
Launched on the 24th of February 2021, the Derry City and Strabane District Council have secured funding of £210m as part of the City Deal and Inclusive Future Fund, making it the largest ever single investment package from the UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive. Derry City and Strabane District Council and its project delivery partners are contributing additional funding of circa £40m, bringing the total investment to around £250m.
The impact of this funding is predicted to triple the expected rate of employment growth, with an additional 7,000 jobs created by 2032 and GVA is anticipated to have increased by around £230m per year by the end of the decade. Some of the proposed investments for the city include the creation of a centre for industrial digitisation, robotics and automation, the redevelopment of Derry’s riverfront and a medical school at Ulster University’s Magee campus.
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill described the deal as a “game-changer for the regional economy, driving growth and creating opportunities for people,” adding, “there is an abundance of potential in the north west and this funding will help to harness it for the good of all.”
Derry has come so far
If we take a look back through the years, we can see just how far Derry has come and what makes it so great.
It was the opening of the iconic Peace Bridge in 2011 and becoming the UK City of Culture in 2013 that proved to be real catalysts in creating a new story for the city. At the start of the culture year, artist David Shrigley created the ‘Small City Becomes Huge’ artwork, which depicted the true pride felt by the entire city and in every community, there was a real sense of, ok what next!?
It’s no secret that Derry has a history of being a politically divided city but conflict transformation is an area which its citizens are extremely proud of. Derry is now a more reconciled, shared space with a shared ambition for the future. The Peace Bridge really connected the city for the first time and there has already been significant investment in the city’s riverfront and public realm, as well as the transformation of the former military sites into centres for innovation, technology and creative industries.
Derry has also proven itself to be a standout heritage destination, as up until COVID-19, there was significant growth in the sector, with rising visitor and employee numbers. Derry has also established itself as a standout food destination with the Legenderry Food brand, with local produce being prioritised by hospitality, retail and consumers.
Continued Strategic Growth for Derry & Strabane
It was actually in 2017 that the strategic growth plan for the city and district was launched and this 15-year plan set out a number of ambitious targets for the city. In 2019 Derry was successful in their bid for a city region growth deal and inclusive future fund, with the match funding announced earlier this year. In fact, there have already been significant improvements to the area, such as the beginning of the A6 (Derry-Belfast) and the creation of over 5000 new jobs since 2015 in the City and District.
The current global pandemic and Brexit was something that could never have been factored into things but with Brexit, the city region is in a unique position as the only functioning economic region in UK with a land border with EU, having the potential to act as a bridge to both UK and EU markets.
There is so much to love about Derry
There is already so much to love about Derry and this deal is only going to make the area better. The people are always described as warm, friendly and welcoming and there is a strong sense of community. In relation to the pandemic, what is particularly important in an era of remote working is broadband infrastructure – Derry has broadband which is both reliable and fast. Other perks include: 100km of greenways for walking, running and cycling, a cheaper cost of living compared to other UK cities, with some of the shortest commute times in the UK.
There’s no doubt that this new city deal will bring with it a wealth of opportunities and assets and will make an already thriving city even better, so it will be nice to look back at Derry in a few years and see what has changed.
What do you love most about the city? We’d love to hear!