£2.5m for innovative scheme to help communities prosper
Led by Timebanking Wales, the project will invite people in Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taff and Bridgend to join Community Enterprise Networks where they will undergo a skills audit to identify their particular talents which can be used in their local areas.
Those who join the Community Enterprise Networks will be thanked with time credits, equivalent to the amount of time they have voluntarily spent using their skills. Time credits can then be exchanged for an equivalent time spent on educational and cultural activities, developing new skills to improve their capabilities and work opportunities.
It is expected that some of the individuals involved will go on to set up their own social enterprises to continue delivering services within their communities such as creative industries, catering, landscaping and environmental ventures.
Backed with £1.8m from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, the remainder of the funding will be provided by the Networks involved.
Announcing the funding for the project, Deputy Minister for European Programmes, Alun Davies, said:
“Unlocking the potential of people in our communities is vital for their future prosperity and the creation of enterprising initiatives which can deliver local services and support the growth of the social economy.
“I am delighted that we have been able to invest EU funding to back this initiative which will help encourage a local entrepreneurial culture by identifying under-utilised skills and talents of people in these communities.
“Looking ahead I am determined to ensure that we maximise the impact of any future EU funding to develop innovative, high quality projects which create jobs while making it easier for applicants to access the funds.”
Timebanking Wales Chief Executive, Geoff Thomas, said:
“Many post industrial landscapes of the South Wales Valleys will never see the return of heavy industries or dependent on their location light manufacturing.
"The challenge is to foster and promote a new culture of indigenous growth leading to wealth creation. The real wealth that remains in the Valleys is its people, and given the right opportunity their ability to create the future.”