* New life in the country, Cadwyn Clwyd Chairman Andrew
Jedwell with Manager Lowri Owain and Project Support Officer Lowri Edwards.
A regeneration agency is in line for a six-year £7 million cash bonanza to boost the economy of rural North East Wales.
Cadwyn Clwyd is launching a month-long consultation process to explore the best ways of spending the money in the rural areas of Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham. And you can have your say in Llangollen next week.
The cash is part of an overall pot of £47.5 million for Wales and Cadwyn Clwyd has previously secured £14 million in European funding to run similar programmes in Denbighshire and Flintshire for a number of years.
Their remit has now been extended to the rural areas of Wrexham County Borough, taking in the large area south and west of North Wales’s biggest town.
The new projects could see over £2 million each go to Flintshire and Wrexham while Denbighshire receives just under £2 million.
The money comes through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) through the Welsh Government’s Rural Development Plan and is part of a six-year plan to revitalise rural communities and their economies.
It has been backed by Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, who said: “The fact that more people in Clwyd South could soon benefit from additional European and Welsh Government money is fantastic news.
“This major investment would represent a huge vote of confidence in the area and help galvanise some of our rural communities. I am excited to see how and where the money could be spent, and I would encourage my constituents to take part in the consultation process and have their say.
“Cadwyn Clwyd has already done some fantastic work in Clwyd South and Denbighshire, and across North East Wales as a whole, and I look forward to their excellent programmes being extended to include Wrexham and to benefit many more people in our part of the world.”
Lowri Owain, the Manager of Cadwyn Clwyd, said: "As a company, we’ve been very successful in attracting funding and in helping to get projects realised and we work with a wide range of projects.
“We hope this will be an extension of the successful series of programmes which we have been running in Denbighshire and Flintshire and which now has the potential to continue through to 2020.
“If we can secure this funding then it will represent a massive vote of confidence in the work we have been doing across all aspects of rural life from tourism, food production and job creation to improving community facilities and encouraging the arts.
“It will mean we can continue to foster innovation and develop the local economy in rural North East Wales.
“We are working in partnership with the three County Councils representing Denbighshire, Flintshire and now Wrexham and that has been vital to the bid and will be equally important for the future.”
Cadwyn Clwyd has helped secure the future of major local events like the Hamper Llangollen and Mold Food Festival as well as launching the Prince of Wales’s favourite community enterprise, Pub is the Hub in Wales for the first time in Wales before rolling it out across a total of eight local authority areas in Wales.
Other successful initiatives have seen them work with local food producers as well as help launch the Pwllglas Community Shop near Ruthin, winner of a Rural Community Ownership Award for 2014, while their bursaries have given a kickstart to small businesses and young entrepreneurs, first in Flintshire and then in Denbighshire as well.
They are currently helping Corwen set up its own hydro renewable energy project and they have funded a survey into climate change in the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Lowri Owain added: “We would encourage local people with ideas to come to speak to Cadwyn Clwyd and to attend the consultation events being held over the coming weeks.
We have a great chance of securing this money and now it’s up to the public to decide what the community’s needs are and how this money can best be used.
“If we can help to develop projects further we will do all we can to provide technical support and assistance to find funds.”
Cadwyn Clwyd Board member and Flintshire County Councillor Carolyn Thomas, from Treuddyn, the Chair of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, said: “It is hugely important to rural North East Wales that Cadwyn Clwyd are able to continue their work.
“This new consultation process is a vital part of the preparation for the next six years and it is key that organizations and individuals engage with it.
“Cadwyn Clwyd has funded schemes that have brought communities together, working on initiatives they have developed from local groups through the support of their project officers who have taken people’s ideas and helped turned them into reality.
“Their expertise and know-how has brought organisations, communities and agencies together, provided access to funding and played a vital role in the ongoing regeneration of our countryside.”
Cadwyn Clwyd’s programme of consultation events covers all three counties and is as follows:
Denbighshire: Royal International Pavilion, Llangollen, on Thursday, August 21, 6-9pm.