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Gwyn Hall 14 Feb 2017

Gwyn Hall Event 14 Feb 2017 Review:

Over 60 people attended the recent profile raising event for the Rural Development Programme in Neath Port Talbot held at the Gwyn Hall in Neath on 14 February. The opportunity to showcase just a few of the projects currently underway within our rural wards as a result of LEADER funding was extremely well received.

Delegates heard how the Local Authority had been successful in bidding for £2.1m of RDP LEADER funding in 2015 that will cover the period up to 2020. The fund, managed by the Local Action Group “Regenerate NPT”, provides a unique chance to trial innovative solutions to issues within our rural areas and featured speakers from some of the current projects who were able to showcase the positive impact that these schemes were having on the local communities involved.

We were lucky enough to hear from two participants of one scheme, run by Age Connect NPT, the Go for IT project, which aims to promote the importance of digital technology for those aged 50+. Tom Marston and Muriel Davies explained how the project had helped them, not only with understanding and using IT and the benefits that brought about, but also they had made many friends as a result of the course.

It was clear from the feedback forms received that hearing, first hand, how these projects can affect people’s lives had a big impact on the audience. One delegate commented “fantastic to hear how the IT Course has helped reduce social isolation and had such a huge positive impact on the wellbeing of people.”

It was clear that all the motivational presentations struck a chord with the audience. “I hadn’t realised how much was available in the area. I will recommend to others and will consider how I can participate and encourage people to use these opportunities” was another positive comment from a feedback form and the majority of feedback forms stated that they would be likely to recommend RDP LEADER funding to others.

Council Leader, Ali Thomas, in closing the event, stated “Our rural areas are vitally important to our heritage, culture and way of life in South Wales and we must work hard to ensure that our communities continue to develop. In the aftermath of Brexit, it is looking likely that this funding round will be the last, therefore it is imperative that European funding streams are fully utilised in order to make the very most of it, while we still have it.”

Grateful thanks to the staff at the Gwyn Hall for their help and support.