MORE than £250k is available to support innovative community-led projects that will help boost Swansea’s rural areas.
The next round of funding under the Rural Development Programme (RDP), which is managed by Swansea Council, opens on March 11 and closes on April 14.
The programme supports social enterprises, the countryside and communities in rural areas to create sustainable and environmentally friendly projects.
Grants of between £30k and £50k are available during this round and will need to be 30% match funded and deliverable within a set time frame.
Andrew Stevens, the council’s cabinet member for business improvement and performance, said:
“Our rural areas are vital to the local economy but like all communities have suffered badly during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are looking to support innovative and exciting community projects that embody sustainability and resilience to assist rural communities with post-Covid recovery.
“I would encourage groups and organisations who have ideas and projects that will make a difference to their rural communities to contact our project officers to discuss suitability and opportunity to possibly attend a funding webinar. The deadline for completed applications is April 14 so anyone interested needs to act quickly.”
To request an initial conversation simply email firstname.lastname@example.org at any time.
Recent projects supported include a new Nature Area for Outdoor Learning delivered by Bishopston Primary (pictured above) and Growing Community through Forest Gardening delivered by Down to Earth.
The latter will create a forest garden at Murton where residents across Swansea, including the asylum seeker and refugee community, will be able to share amazing organic food and methods for how to grow sustainably. This will grow ties between the different communities as well as food.
Hamish Osborn, of Natural Resources Wales and Chair of Swansea Rural Development Partnership said:
“The forest gardening project promises to be a fantastic opportunity for local residents to engage with the project to learn about the developing cultural landscape of Swansea through a progressive approach to gardening that will support understanding and increase biodiversity.
“The Local Action Group is also pleased to be supporting the nature area project. We see merit in developing spaces that will not only encourage biodiversity but also provide a valuable learning tool for our younger generation to gain an understanding of the importance of caring for our environment.”
Successes of earlier funding rounds have included schemes that led to a plastic-free community group in Pennard and to Wales’ first community solar farm.
These projects have received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.