£4.5m search on for innovation champions

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THE search is on for eight Gwynedd innovation champions to help decide on the best way to utilise the next tranche of the Wales’ Rural Development funding here in Gwynedd.

Leader, the name of the new programme £4.5m in Gwynedd and funded through the Wales Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, is looking for individuals with skills and experience in natural and cultural resources, local produce, local services, renewable energy and digital technology.

The new scheme will be administered from Porthmadog by Menter Môn, who is also delivering on Anglesey. Zoe Pritchard, the Gwynedd Project Manager said:

“The eight champions will become part of a Local Action Group (LAG) who will be responsible for providing strategic direction and ensure that activities align with the Gwynedd Local Development Strategy. Under the LAG’s expert insight and guidance, Leader will trial a diverse range of innovative activities that have the potential to contribute to community and economic prosperity of Gwynedd.”

Wales Champions Leaderboard
Wales Champions Leaderboard

Through taking advantage of Gwynedd’s strengths, the rural innovation programme will aim to tackle the issues that are affecting the economy in Gwynedd.

“Declining High Streets, cuts in public services and outmigration of young people because of the lack of job opportunities are real issues here and the Leader programme will attempt to tackle these head on.”

“We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to history and heritage, language and culture, outdoor activities and local produce, but are we really doing enough with them?” added Zoe.

If projects are eligible and meet the programme’s innovative ethos then support and resources will be made available to assist the development.

“It’s about making the most of what makes us different. We know what Gwynedd’s USPs are but we have to find new and innovative ways of utilizing them – and this is where the Gwynedd Innovation Champions will fit in.

“Once the champions have been recruited we will be inviting communities and partnerships to pilot new projects but we are keen to stress that this is not a grant scheme. All costs will be incurred directly by the Leader programme and there will also be expert advice, guidance and support to deliver real, tangible and sustainable benefits.

“This is a real opportunity to have a real effect on Gwynedd’s future – we are urging people to come forward and be part of something that will have a real effect on the region.”

*If you are interested in becoming a Gwynedd Innovation Champion and a member of Gwynedd’s Local Action Group, please contact Zoe Pritchard on 01766 514057 or zoe@mentermon.com.