Supporting the delivery of social services in Flintshire and increasing local markets for shellfish in Anglesey are two of the 11 projects in North Wales that will share almost £1 million from the Welsh Government to test new ways of growing the everyday parts of the economy.
Economy and North Wales Minister Ken Skates will make the announcement on a visit to Mon Shellfish in Bethesda to hear about a partnership project with Coleg Llandrillo Menai and Partneriaeth Ogwen, which is receiving £100,000, to look at increasing local markets for shellfish.
The project will also involve an education programme to teach communities in the area how to prepare and cook local seafood and the Minister himself had a demonstration of this during his visit.
The funding boost for the 11 projects comes from the Welsh Government’s Foundational Economy Challenge Fund which aims to drive prosperity throughout Wales and reach out to those communities across Wales who are feeling disengaged and left behind.
It is also in response to the uncertainty and challenges set by Brexit and is a clear demonstration of the Welsh Government’s commitment to core services, social enterprises and businesses.
The Foundational Economy is made up of the everyday goods and services we all use and need such as food and social care.
As a result of the demand and quality of applications, the fund’s budget for the whole of Wales has been trebled to £4.5 million. Businesses and enterprises are able to apply for up to £100,000 of project funding.
Mark Gray, Director at Môn Shellfish, said:
“Working with the Food Technology Centre at Coleg Llandrillo Menai, Partneriath Ogwen and Gwynedd County Council, the foundation challenge fund will allow us to cast our net across the community to increase the consumption of fresh, local seafood through education and training.
“We will hold seafood preparation classes, cookery demonstrations and create bilingual youtube videos, teaching people how to, for example, open oysters, pick the meat out of cooked crab and shuck scallops. We will publicise the health and environmental credentials of local seafood through social media and market our material and training across our local communities.
“The project will help to reconnect the community with local seafood, support the local fishing industry and offer a very healthy food choice. It will also allow us to attain the required certification and preparation for distribution to schools, Local Authority canteens and other establishments.
Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council (DVSC), the County Voluntary Council for Denbighshire and a partner in Third Sector Support Wales is also benefiting for a project which has been awarded £100,000 to utilise Ruthin Town Hall as a community and business hub which can offer new routes for independent firms and social enterprises. The Wales Co-operative Centre will also provide support for local start-ups and social enterprise businesses.
DVSC Chief Executive Helen Wilkinson said:
“DVSC is thrilled to be one of the award winners for the Foundational Economy Challenge Fund which we know was highly competitive. The grant will be used to reinvigorate the Grade 2 listed Ruthin Market Hall, which is currently lying vacant and underutilised.
“We will develop a community market which will run year round for start-up and regular traders and local artisans, makers, community groups and voluntary organisations alongside social enterprises and social businesses. On non-market days we will make the space available for hire for a range of community focussed activities and cultural events.
“It marks the start of exciting times for DVSC as well as for voluntary and community groups, the Third Sector, social enterprises and local businesses in Denbighshire. We see the development of the Market Hall as a key opportunity for inclusive economic growth in Ruthin and the outlying area, with DVSC working in partnership with the local community and helping shape the future of Ruthin and Denbighshire.
“We hope to strengthen the foundations of the rural economy by keeping local money circulating locally, enhancing the town centre offer for local residents whilst also supporting the visitor economy. The funding will also be invaluable in enabling DVSC to future proof its own sustainability by strengthening our social enterprise capability and that of the community we support.
Economy and North Wales Minister Ken Skates said:
“Today’s announcement will be a boost to projects across North Wales that are looking to make a real difference to people’s lives.
“Our Foundational Economy Challenge Fund is absolutely vital in ensuring money is retained locally and helps others develop ideas through good practice.
“The Welsh Government’s Economic Action Plan moves away from a sector approach to one focused on developing stronger and more resilient communities. The fund is a key part of our strategy and essential in developing Wales’ regional economy.
“We are committed to supporting this element further and have trebled the amount available to projects such as these eleven in North Wales to help ensure prosperity is shared more evenly across our nation.
“The Foundational Economy Challenge Fund will also help in some part to address the uncertainties our economy faces as a result of Brexit. As a Welsh Government, we continue to do all we can to protect jobs and communities.
More information on the successful projects can be found on the Business Wales website.