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Two Day Project Launch
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council launched the SHARE Project on the 13th November 2012 at the Guest Keen Club, Dowlais with its five EU partners, after securing €4.8 million to improve training, job prospects and an increased appreciation of its rich rural heritage and culture.
The Mayor of Merthyr Tydfil, Councillor Lisa Mytton, welcomed the five other EU partners to Merthyr Tydfil and to the official launch of the SHARE Project. Mr Gareth Chapman, the Chief Executive of the Local Authority commended the partnership on securing EU funds and said that the SHARE Project marks a real opportunity to increase the skills and job opportunities in countryside and heritage management. He said he looked forward to a sustained and mutually beneficial working relationship over the years to come with the each of the five partners.
SHARE Project Co-ordinator Ryan Barry informed the audience regarding the meaning behind the project name ‘SHARE’ which stands for: ‘Safeguarding Heritage And Rural Economies’ and explained how the project accessed funding from the INTERREG IVB North West European programme which took over a year to develop between the six partners and runs until July 2015. The project will focus on raising awareness & preserving traditional rural skills; pilot heritage restoration projects and the European Heritage Skills Passport Scheme, sharing the results across the EU.
The project also aims to support young people, artisans, retirees and anyone interested in working together to learn rural skills to improve and safeguard buildings, structures and the countryside. The European Heritage Skills Passport Scheme will be accredited in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK with project partners from these countries exchanging ‘best practice’ whilst providing opportunities for participants to travel between each country to experience learning on a truly transnational stage.
Mr Gareth Chapman, Chief Executive of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council said: “We are delighted to have been successful in this bid. It is a great privilege to be ‘Lead Partner’ in this vitally important project. It will mean a great deal to the conservation and interpretation of our rural heritage work but will also contribute towards local employment and skills development - two of Merthyr Council CBC’s ‘key priorities’. We hope this achievement builds on the great success of the work achieved by the COLLABOR8 Project (which is also an INTERREG IVB NWE Project)”.
“The partnership with organisations across NW Europe is a very strong one with real strength in depth. We are certain that each of the partners will learn a great deal from their transnational work as well as contributing to each partner's respective regions. Their work in ensuring we learn from the cutting edge of good practice in this area, as well as the ability to document partners’ work, will be invaluable to the project.”
The day ended with an evening reception made-up of SHARE staff and dignitaries from Merthyr Tydfil enjoyed an evening reception dinner to celebrate the launch of the SHARE Project. The event was held at the stunning Morlais Golf Club which included entertainment from the Dowlais Male Voice Choir.
On the second day dignitaries attended a Transnational Steering Group Meeting to discuss the logistics of the project further. The Launch culminated in partners visiting the Penmoelallt Nature Reserve, located in the north of the region. Merthyr Tydfil & District Naturalists took the SHARE Staff around the 'Reserve' which ended in partners trying some traditional welsh broth around the campfire. Furthermore, SHARE Partners also tried their hands at making traditional welsh bird boxes out of local wood, with some partners taking their finished pieces home.