Brecon Beacons National Park Authority is celebrating along with its eleven partners spread across Europe after securing €10million for the benefit of rural communities over the next three years.
The new project - called Rural Alliances - will support rural enterprises and communities to work together in new alliances to generate new business opportunities, safeguarding and improving rural services and making their areas special places for people to visit, live in and raise their families . The project will run for three years and is aimed at regenerating rural areas and exchanging best practice between different EU regions.
The Brecon Beacons will benefit from €0.5million (£400,000m) allocated to Wales through the project under the EU's Interreg IVB North West Europe programme. On top of this, the Welsh Government will invest over £320,000 (€400,000) through its Targeted Match Fund.
Finance Minister, Jane Hutt, said:
"Bringing entrepreneurs and communities together through the creation of new alliances will help form self-supporting, inclusive, confident rural communities. I am delighted to back this initiative with EU resources from the Targeted Match Fund."
Deputy Minister for European Programmes, Alun Davies, said:
"It is excellent news that Wales is taking a lead role in forging a pro-active relationship with our EU partners as part of the Interreg IVB North West Europe Programme to coordinate and address common challenges facing our rural communities."
Through the project, the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority will focus their work on enabling tourism clusters make links with their local communities so that together they can manage and develop opportunities, including green tourism and the impact of demographic change in their communities.
Mrs Julie James, Chairman of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority said:
"It is a privilege to be lead partner in this vitally important project. It will mean a great deal to the development of our tourism work but also will contribute towards the sustainability of the local communities within the National Park, one of our core priorities.
"Now is the time to tackle the issues of rural regeneration and demographic change. We think we have an important set of ideas to explore from the core concepts of communities and businesses working together in alliance to the Rural Vibrancy Index and Financial Engineering ideas. We look forward to working with our partners, including University of Wales Trinity Saint David as well as local people on that journey."
Rural Alliances builds on the success of the work achieved by the COLLABOR8 Projection – a project also backed by Interreg IVB North West Europe Programme which finishes at the end of June 2012.