Community spirits get raised by cash boosts

Community spirits get raised by cash boosts
By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: September 22, 2011

EIGHT communities are to receive a total of £4.7 million as part of Swansea Council’s rural development plan.

Projects in Bishopston, Pennard, Gower, Fairwood, Llangyfelach, Pontarddulais, Mawr and Penclawdd will each get the cash over the next two years. [N.B.  Pennard didn’t get any cash, not even a penny, from the £4.7 million and certainly nothing towards it Library!]

The schemes include promoting walking and cycling, developing youth services, and improving local bus services and sports facilities.

Other plans include promoting local food, and an a new information technology centre.

Many of the schemes in line for the money were nominated by local people in the communities involved. Gareth Sullivan, Swansea Council’s cabinet member for planning, economic and strategic development, welcomed the investment, and said it would “help preserve the diversity and richness of our rural communities”.

He said: “Some people may be surprised to learn that rural Swansea covers about 60 per cent of the entire city and county, and what the rural development plan will do is positively impact on people’s day-to-day lives in these areas.

“This is the second business plan under the rural development plan but it’s ten times the size of the first one and has five main themes and a number of projects within them.

“The plan will also boost local business and tourism and has already encouraged local groups to get involved and help deliver benefits for their own communities.

“This funding will help preserve the diversity and richness of our rural communities.”

The rural development fund is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

The details of the second batch of money were officially launched at the King Arthur Hotel in Reynoldston yesterday.

Among the projects earmarked for cash is the creation of an information technology centre in Parkmill, improvements to sports facilities and community buildings in Pontarddulais, and the creation of a new landscape partnership project for Gower which will be part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund Landscape Partnership and the Countryside Council for Wales.

Alun Davies, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and European Programmes, said the projects would boost the economic and environmental sustainability of the communities involved.

He said: “The rural development plan for Wales supports local communities and businesses right across rural Wales.

“The projects in Swansea’s rural development plan have been put forward by local groups, many of them at the request of local people, who are best placed to decide what their communities need in order to improve the environment and business and tourism opportunities.

“I am delighted that rural communities across the City and County of Swansea will benefit from this funding that will help boost the economic and environmental sustainability of the area.”

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