Community groups and social businesses in rural wards of Neath Port Talbot are being urged to take advantage of a pot of available funding that is now open through the Welsh Government’s Rural Community Development Fund.

Councillor Alun Thomas
The £57m Wales-wide scheme is part of the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

The fund aims to support actions which will address the impact of poverty and improve conditions which can lead to future jobs, growth and prosperity in rural Wales.

Funding, which is primarily capital expenditure, will be available to local community groups, social enterprises and community interest companies and would need to benefit communities within the county borough’s 24 designated rural wards, located primarily within the county borough’s five valleys areas.

Any groups wishing to find out more should contact the Regional Development Programme (RDP) team who will be playing an important role in supporting local projects through the application process prior to their submission to the Welsh Government.

The team will be working closely alongside ‘Regenerate Neath Port Talbot’, a local partnership made up of 25 representatives from the public, private and voluntary sectors throughout rural areas of the county borough. The group is responsible for outlining and implementing an overall strategic vision for the use of rural funding in the county borough.

Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Cllr Ali Thomas OBE said: “The Rural Community Development Fund presents a significant opportunity for local organisations working within the rural wards of Neath Port Talbot. Whilst public and third sector organisations currently face very difficult times, there are still specific funding streams available for different types of projects and I would encourage any local organisations considering an application to contact our RDP team as soon as possible”.

“We have a strong track record in Neath Port Talbot of accessing and maximising external funding sources to benefit our local communities. The Council and its partners will support eligible local groups to ensure they have the best possible chance of taking advantage of this fund and to make sure that the county borough does not miss out”.

Cllr Anthony Taylor, Chair of Regenerate NPT said: “This fund is a terrific opportunity for groups in our rural wards to make a real difference to their community. The scheme will enable the creation and improvement of small scale infrastructure projects, such as renewable energy, broadband, leisure and culture or tourism facilities”.

Applications for this current round of funding need to be submitted to the Welsh Assembly by the 31st January 2016.

To find out the latest information follow the Regional Development Programme office on Twitter @RDPNPT or on Facebook.

More information on this fund is available on the Welsh Government’s website: http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/farmingandcountryside/cap/ruraldevelopment/wales-rural-development-programme-2014-2020/?lang=en

For further guidance please contact the RDP office on 01639 686077 or rdp@npt.gov.uk.

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