Jane Hutt AM, Minister for Finance and Government Business
Today I am pleased to announce the latest round of projects which will be supported by the Welsh Government’s Invest to Save Fund. In my recent oral statement I provided an update to Assembly Members which included details of the first tranche of projects agreed in the latest bidding round and I also provided a summary of the activities and achievements of the Fund since it’s launch in 2009. The projects contained in this written statement represent the second tranche of schemes agreed as part of the latest round.
The fund will be supporting a total of 6 new schemes which have an aggregate value of just over £5.5m. These new projects bring the total number of investments up to almost 160 with a combined investment value of over £145m.
Firstly, I am pleased to notify Assembly Members of the Funds first third sector led project. The Welsh Government will be providing £157,000 of support to the mental health charity Hafal with the potential of increasing support up to £500,000. The funds will support the development of a 15 bed mental health treatment centre which will offer a progressive and recovery-focused service for people experiencing mental illness. This is the first treatment centre of its kind in Wales and will not only be of benefit to patients but will generate estimated savings of £300,000 for the NHS in Wales.
2 of the latest projects to receive support represent investments in energy efficiency schemes in the Education sector. They are:
- £200,000 for Grwp Llandrillo College for the installation of LED lighting at their Rhos on Sea campus. This project will generate cash releasing savings of £37,000 per annum and reduce CO2 emissions by 125 tonnes per annum
- £551,000 for energy efficiency measures to be installed in the Coleg Gwent operated colleges of Crosskeys, Newport, Usk and Pontypool. Coleg Gwent estimate that savings of £76,000 per annum will be generated and that CO2 emissions will be reduced by 365 tonnes per annum.
These 2 investments increase the activity of the fund in the Education sector to £2.7m. They also support the Welsh Government Energy Efficiency Strategy and increase our investment in reducing carbon emissions by the Welsh public sector to almost £14m
The 4th scheme which the fund will be supporting is a sickness absence reduction project in Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board. In 2014 the board received support from the Invest to Save Fund for a pilot project which trialled various support measures to reduce sickness absence. The approach used by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg was subject to formal evaluation and was found to have reduced sickness absence by 2% in the target area. Due to the success of the initiative the board approached the Invest to Save Fund with an ambitious programme to roll their approach out to the whole organisation. The investment of £547,000 will support this roll out and generate annual savings in the region of £3.3m per annum for the board.
The final 2 projects I am announcing are:
- £3.75m for Natural Resources Wales to allow them to re-align their staffing and management structures to allow them to deliver their core objectives more efficiently. The latest scheme will support the transformation stage of this relatively new organisation and will deliver cash savings in the region of £4m per annum.
- The provision of £180,000 to the Children’s Commissioner. This will assist the Commissioner in re-aligning the resources of the organisation to ensure that it is focused on delivering its role as a representative for children and young people and defending their rights.