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Launching £1.74 million of opportunities!
The Heart of Wessex Local Action Group (LAG) held a busy and very well attended launch event at the Cheese & Grain in Frome on Wednesday 17th June. Over 150 guests were entertained by Geniology, a 4 piece jazz band before The Mayor of Frome formally launched the funding programme by ceremoniously cutting a string of locally sourced sausages.
Left to Right: Andy Fussell, Fussels Fine Foods; Michael Mounde, Heart of Wessex LAG, Chair of Executive; Kate Bielby, Mayor of Frome; Laura Coate, Little Jack Horners; Sarah Dyke-Bracher, Heart of Wessex LAG, programme manager.
Having recently secured £1.74 million through the Rural Development Programme to invest in projects that directly support the rural economy the LAG will be able to support innovative projects aimed at increasing farm productivity, developing micro and small enterprises and farm diversification, rural tourism, rural services, cultural and heritage activity and increasing forestry productivity.
The enthusiastic audience heard about how to get involved in deciding how the money is invested and how to apply for funding. Sarah Dyke-Bracher, from the Heart of Wessex LAG said "Securing this funding is an amazing achievement and seeing such a great turn out for our official launch reflects the hard work and commitment of local people, partner organisations and the programme management team. We want to deliver optimum value for money by identifying projects that will provide innovative and collaborative solutions to support the rural economy that create new jobs and growth throughout our LAG area.” She added “We have ambitious objectives that aim to support at least 50 new projects over the course of the next 5 years and I hope that some of the project ideas here tonight will be successful. We are here to support anyone who has a project idea that meets the funding criteria apply for funding and will support them every step of the way throughout the process.”
The Local Action Group is a community led organisation that works best when as many people as possible get involved because every single person brings their own experience, understanding and local knowledge to the group, all valuable expertise that helps projects to develop, recognises what’s most needed in the area and ensures the money is spent as wisely as possible. Lizzy Ralph, a LAG member, informed guests that, “Being part of the Heart of Wessex Local Action Group is a really good way of getting involved, hearing about projects which are applying for funding and having your say in how the funding is invested. She added “The Local Action Group is interesting, fun, and makes a real difference to your local area. Local people are full of excellent ideas and they really know what’s needed in their communities.”
The LAG will be fully “open for business” during the summer when the first call for project applications is expected. Sarah is keen to hear from anyone who has a project idea and would like to find out if it would be eligible for funding. So, if you want to be involved in the Local Action Group, or have an idea for a project, please contact Sarah Dyke-Bracher on 07826 907361 or visit the website, www.heartofwessex.co.uk