eden community conference

Rory attended the Eden Community Conference at Skelton’s Toppin Memorial Hall on Saturday 26th November, meeting with representatives of Eden communities who had gathered for the day-long event to officially launch the £230,000 Eden Rural Infrastructure Fund, which will dispense grants to communities who have exciting projects aimed at making their villages more sustainable. Local groups learnt how to bid for funding, and met with EDC Councillors and officers to discuss their ideas.

Rory, who has championed the work of Penrith and the Border’s community groups as a blueprint for other parts of the UK, said: “I am delighted to be supporting the launch of Eden’s Rural Infrastructure Fund. Eden has been in the national spotlight for its Big Society initiatives, and it is absolutely wonderful that our local council is building on this success and recognising that local communities know more, care more and can do more than distant government. We are elected here to listen to you, and not vice versa, and finally there is a long overdue recognition that communities’ decision-making is the most legitimate, and often the most innovative. It is wonderful to see such a lot of both familiar and new faces, showing that villages have a very powerful voice.”

Eden District Council’s Deputy Leader and Community Services Portfolio Holder, Councillor Mary Robinson, said: “Community and voluntary groups from all over the District were invited to Skelton to attend the Community Conference. We wanted to hear their ideas about how they can use the Eden Rural Infrastructure Fund to kick-start projects in outlying areas of the District to make Eden more sustainable. We had an interesting programme of activities on the day that should help stimulate people’s imaginations to come forward with project ideas! These include talks by representatives from community groups who have already made a big impact in their areas, from community trusts running the local pub and building affordable homes, to a ‘distinctiveness group’ promoting the individuality of their area to attract tourists. The conference is all about sharing ideas and knowledge to improve and sustain our rural areas for the long-term.”

The key elements of the Community Conference were:

– Launch of the £230,000 Eden Rural Infrastructure Fund
– Communities being able to discuss and put forward projects
– Hearing about successful community projects in Eden

As part of the support available to community groups, a range of case studies are available that show how areas of Eden District are achieving positive outcomes through community planning. They are working together with local councils and other organisations to realise their ambitions. The case studies are available along with other advice from www.eden.gov.uk/community-solutions



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