Monday, 22 December 2014

The Cornish LAGs - a few thanks!

Last week’s Cornish Guardian featured my final column for 2014. It was as follows:

I have just attended the final meeting of the Clay Country Local Action Group (LAG) which I have chaired over the last four years.

The Clay Country LAG was one of three Cornish LAGs set up in 2008, as part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) 2007 – 2013. Another LAG covered West Cornwall while, within the circulation area of the Cornish Guardian, the East Cornwall LAG covered the former district council areas of Caradon and North Cornwall.

The Rural Development Programme was part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for European Development 2007-2013, and each of the three LAGs was initially awarded £1.8 million to invest in local businesses and to support projects which benefit local communities. The Clay Country LAG subsequently secured additional funding for business grants.

The programme was run by staff from the Cornwall Development Company, and each LAG had a panel of volunteers from the public, private and voluntary sectors, who came together to consider the grant applications and to decide how the money would be best spent.

It has been a privilege to have been involved with the LAG and to have seen countless great projects come to fruition. Many businesses have been able to expand and grow as a consequence of the programme, while projects also included new community halls, improvements to village halls, support for community shops, creation of new allotments, improvements to local play spaces, and so much more.

Now the programmes have come to an end, I would like to say thank you to a large number of people for their contributions, which I am sure will be echoed by my fellow LAG chairs, Kim Spencer (East Cornwall) and Julian Rand (West Cornwall).

I would like to express my gratitude to all those volunteers, who gave up so much of their valuable time, month after month, as well as the staff at the Cornwall Development Company, who supported the LAGs with such professionalism.

And I would especially like to thank the LAG Managers, Clare Leverton and Linda Emmett, who worked so hard and with immense dedication. They promoted the programmes widely, assisted numerous applicants and community groups, and truly made the LAGs such a great success.

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