£54m grants for rural communities

Bridge Street in Llandeilo, CarmarthenshireCarmarthenshire has secured over £8m in Rural Development Plan funding
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More than £54m in funding has been allocated to projects to help create jobs, improve services and regenerate communities in rural Wales.

EU and assembly government cash goes to 79 projects ranging from support for farming families to renovation projects including a castle and manor house.

Powys receives the largest single grant to develop and promote tourism.

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said the project ideas had come from local groups within the communities.

Carmarthenshire has secured the largest share of the funding with over £8m going to seven different schemes.

Just under £1m, supported by match funding, will go to help 25 family farms maintain and increase their income.

One-off capital grants will be available to help them diversify into non agricultural activities, convert redundant buildings and purchase equipment.

“Many of the projects will help to support rural economies as Wales continues to feel the effects of the worldwide recession”

Elin Jones Welsh Rural Affairs Minister

Another scheme in the county aims to support and encourage small businesses, persuade young people to become entrepreneurs and address a shortage in office and industrial accommodation.

The county council’s head European policy and external funding Neville Davies said the bulk of the schemes would start in the next financial year.

“We have developed a range of projects for rural Carmarthenshire that support young people, local businesses and communities generally.

“We are very pleased we have done so well and that the majority of our projects have been successful.

“It demonstrates that we have a need for such investments in rural Carmarthenshire and we look forward to delivering these projects over the next three years.”

The largest single award is £2.1m towards developing green tourism in Powys.

The money is being made available through a joint Welsh Assembly Government and European Union strategy.

Between 2007 and 2013 £795m will be spent in Wales.

Ms Jones said: “The £54m I am announcing is for a wide range of rural community projects, all of which aim to improve the quality of life in rural areas.

“Importantly, the project ideas come from local action groups which input from local people, who are best placed to decide what their communities need in order to improve the environment, economy, or local tourism.

“Many of the projects will help to support rural economies as Wales continues to feel the effects of the worldwide recession and the UK government spending review.”

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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