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Investing in digital and business growth

Enterprise M3 LEP’s investment in affordable, flexible workspace and ultra-fast broadband in the New Forest, will generate jobs and apprenticeships for rural communities.

The cash injection of £200,000 will launch a Centre for Social Innovation (C4Si) in Lymington, on December 7. Based in the refitted and modernised South Efford House, the business-led facility will mark a new approach to business-led open innovation, social enterprise and sustainable business growth. It is expected to provide 100 jobs over three years.

It will be used by local businesses, the New Forest Business Partnership and the New Forest Group Training Association (GTA) led by C4Si. Brockenhurst and Totton Colleges, and New Forest District Council, will also use the centre, along with local voluntary and community social enterprise organisations to deliver their programmes and community outreach.

Interim Assistant Director, Operations, Sally Agass, said: “Rural locations are one of the many aspects that make the Enterprise M3 area a unique place to live, work and visit. We need to support our rural businesses and workforce while protecting our countryside and we must identify the opportunities to support both these aims, as well as the barriers. This is why we have helped fund the Centre for Social Innovation.”

Our loan will provide the capital to unlock the project and pave the way to creating a Social Innovation Academy. The project has also secured £370,000 of private sector funding and £150,000 in grant support from Hampshire County Council and New Forest District Council to cover initial revenue costs.