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Avon Valley Project

Avon Valley Project

2008-10

Aims and Effect on Local Businesses and Community

  • To celebrate and promote the rich diversity of the Avon Valley – from Moor to Sea (within both the South Devon Coastal Local Action Group sector – SDCLAG – and that of Greater Dartmoor – GDLAG) with its
    • (i) natural beauty;
    • (ii) wealth of local businesses working from or on the land;
    • (iii) numerous local artists, musicians, writers, etc.;
    • (iv) number of local schools hungry for local integration.
  • To thereby enhance – through awareness and collaboration – economic and sustainable progress of local businesses.
  • To embrace and thus be an example of the concept of LOCAL BEING BEST, cutting down unnecessary travel, supermarket purchases, etc. This could only serve to enrich the community.
  • To encourage/promote local tourism and educational opportunities.

Project Plans

  • To launch a one or two-week festival once a year bringing together on one site representatives from local businesses, voluntary groups, individual makers, etc. (from farmers and food producers to artists, teachers and workshop leaders).
  • To find a site to accommodate suitably-sized marquees for the festival and ample parking space.
  • To design and make a website that advertises and locates with detailed maps (including walks) each festival representative, as well as describing specific festival events to attract the general public.
  • To design and make a brochure (see South Hams Food brochure) that includes all of the above to encourage year round interest in all that goes on in the valley.
  • To send out proposals to local schools to encourage any type of participation, whether it be in the form of work experience, publicity design or setting up assistance during festival week.

Funding

  1. The SDCLAG has won a bid for £1.8 million to support projects and local initiatives in this area. My project proposal has been received with interest after several meetings with the project officer to decide on ways forward.
  2. The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has a 50th birthday for which they are celebrating by awarding small grants to start up businesses in the area. In 2010 I was successful in getting a grant for the Avon Valley Project Pilot Scheme. This had to be match funded to be viable.
  3. The EU RDA Rural Development Agency in 2009 started up the Enablement Fund, encouraging small businesses and individuals in rural areas to develop new initiatives. This would have been a perfect match for the AVP. Despite the lengthly application procedure for this grant, I decided to pull out of the project. There had been concern from the RDA appraisers that, while the project was an exciting one, the risk of success was questionable because I was running the project on my own.