Part of the deal in creating a single European market was to help less prosperous regions catch up. Over the years, Yorkshire & the Humber has done well out of European funding, not least the Regional Development Fund (for developing infrastructure and new businesses) and the Social Fund (aimed at training, skills and social inclusion).
Richard Corbett – one of Labour’s MEP candidates in Yorkshire and the Humber for the European elections in May – was involved in Brussels in the negotiations on the EU’s new seven-year budget framework.
So he was fascinated to get an insight into a local community’s plans about how to make good use of it here in Yorkshire, when he attended a consultation workshop held in New Wortley Community Centre recently.
£340 million has been given to Leeds City Region from the European Community’s ‘Growth Programme’– with much of it to be spent on large-scale business and environmental infrastructure projects. £33 million is targeted at social inclusion and combatting poverty. And a portion will go on Community Led Local Development – on projects at the most local level which will benefit communities.
So there’s European money to spend here in Leeds on activities directly aimed at helping people such as the disabled or older unemployed over a seven-year period.
In order to qualify for the money, Local Action Groups have to be set up and agree on a strategy. So the purpose of the meeting was to discuss ideas for a Community-Led Local Development partnership in West Leeds, bringing together the City Council with local community voluntary and private sector groups. These partnerships must always involve public, private and third sector groups. Projects must be new, innovative and not funded elsewhere or happening anyway.
Three partnerships in Leeds have been set up – for Inner West Leeds, Inner East Leeds and Inner South Leeds.
Voluntary Action Leeds is involved, as is Leeds City Council, and, in West Leeds, the charity Barca Leeds. The meeting was designed to allow them to discuss and share ideas with a wide cross section of local people and groups from inner west Leeds.
£1 million pounds will come to Leeds for Community work of this sort – and with matched funding that will mean £2 million to spend.
We often hear the moan – what has Europe ever done for us?
Funding like this is part of the answer.
We’re Better and Stronger in Europe.
Vote Labour in the EU elections on 22 May
[The above was taken from material available on Richard Corbett’s website. You can read more from that site here.]
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