Four of the many successful projects to benefit from the European Union’s Rural Development Programme (RDP) have received awards for their achievements at a two-day event held at the Royal Welsh Showground.
The RDP has benefited projects for many years and will come to end in 2023 following the UK’s exit from the EU.
The Celebration of Rural Wales event has provided the opportunity to look at the achievements of projects, the difference they have made to people and communities and look to the future as the Welsh Government develops a truly Welsh approach to the rural economy.
The objectives of the RDP have included increasing the productivity, diversity and efficiency of farming businesses, encouraging sustainable land management practices and promoting strong, sustainable rural economic growth.
To support this, schemes in Wales have offered different types of interventions such as bespoke and tailored advice for business, demonstration activities and pan-Wales, multi-sectoral, collaborative projects designed to stimulate innovation and change working practices for the future.
Keep Wales Tidy was successful in the Innovation category for establishing a network of litter-Hubs and Litter Free Zones managed and owned by local businesses, communities, and schools.
New ideas and pilots have emerged through the process to improve local environments and the quality of life in rural areas.
Dyfodol Cambrian Futures scooped the award in the Communities category for its work in Ceredigion, Powys and Carmarthenshire. This has included building and supporting the Cambrian Mountains identity as a destination by strengthening the Tourism Network and working within local communities and with businesses to build the economy of the area.
Pennal 2050 won the Landscapes, Nature and Forestry section award for providing local people with responsibility of identifying and planning actions to cope with challenges at a landscape level. Thanks to support via the Sustainable Management Scheme, collaboration, expertise, ideas, technology and science best practices have all be shared on an inclusive journey which has the future of a rural area and its next generations at its core.
Project Helix picked up the award in the Food and Tourism category. The project has supported food businesses through upskilling workforce, supporting new business start-ups and helping businesses grow and thrive. This has seen an impact worth £215m into food & drink businesses, created 485 jobs and safeguarded more than 2,600.
Project Helix also won the overall award across all themes for its achievements to date.
Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths said:
“It is very appropriate as RDP support comes to an end we celebrate the great work and efforts of individuals, groups and organisations across Wales in making the most of this funding to help people and communities.
“There have been many successful projects and I want to congratulate each and every one of them, including the four receiving awards at the Celebration of Rural Wales event, for the important contributions they have made.
“As we develop a truly Welsh approach to the rural economy going forward, it is crucial we learn from these projects and build on them.