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European funding for two exciting Medway schemes

Date: 15/12/2008           Category: Economic Development

Two projects to benefit the residents of Medway have been awarded more than £300,000 funding from Europe. Transmanche Enterprise Network (TEN) and Access projects are part financed by the cross border cooperation programme Interreg IVA 2 seas. TEN is a three-year project with the aim of promoting and encouraging entrepreneurs and businesses to develop new cross-border commercial initiatives. This is an excellent opportunity for Medway small businesses to establish new markets in northern France and Belgium by building partnerships with companies on the other side of the Channel. Medway Council is the lead partner. The other partners are Canterbury City Council, POM West Flanders Development Agency, Boulogne Chamber of Commerce, Boulogne Development Cote d’ Opale and the Regional association of Business Incubators (Les Ruches du Nord). Access is designed to enhance the quality of life and employability of young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Medway and Greater Dunkerque. The project has three strands – citizenship in action, creativity without borders and parents to parents. Cllr Jane Chitty, Portfolio Holder for Strategic Development and Economic Growth said: “Receiving this funding from Europe is a great achievement and good news for everyone involved. “TEN will offer superb opportunities for Medway businesses, and people will really begin to understand the importance of working with our cross-Channel neighbours. It will enable businesses to install new software, create translation pages on websites, attend study tours, visits and exhibit at business events in France and Belgium. “All three strands of Access aim to engage with young people and provide them with valuable work experience, new skills and encourage involvement in community regeneration. “Both schemes are hugely exciting and put Medway at the forefront of partnership working. “This current funding approval has been part of developing funding streams that would directly benefit the community in a number of different ways. These two projects are the culmination of nine years of successful Interreg bidding with European partners. Medway has been at the forefront of accessing this funding and we hope there will be more to come in the future.” Citizenship in action will engage young people in a sports-marshalling training programme, which will prove useful for future festivals locally and Medway’s involvement in London 2012. The council’s partners are Church in Society Twydall and Communaute Urbaine de Dunkerque. Creativity without borders will feature young people and residents of all ages using art as a tool to express their views about neighbourhood improvement and regeneration in Medway. This project will bring together local residents from both Medway and Greater Dunkerque. The New Art Centre in Chatham is involved in this. Other partners are Maison de quartier Soubise, Grande Synthe and Communaute Urbaine de Dunkerque. Parents to parents aims to give young parents the opportunity to meet people in similar situations from across the Channel, with the opportunity for young parents to be mentored by older parents, learning from their experience. The council’s partners are Association Villenvie, AAE les Alizes and Ville de Saint-Pol-sur-Mer. Editor’s notes: In the past five years, Medway Council has been involved in 32 EU Interreg IIIA funded projects and has been the lead partner in a number of them. This has drawn in more than £3million of EU funding for Medway.