The Cynnal y Cardi Local Action Group (LAG) is looking for innovative community led project ideas that could make a real difference to the lives of people living and working in Ceredigion.

Cynnal y Cardi, which is administered by Ceredigion County Council, has five themes where ideas are being sought under the LEADER scheme. All ideas are welcome on a rolling basis, with Monday, 5 March being the first closing date of 2018 for submitting ideas or expressions of interest.

LEADER, which aims to support innovative responses to opportunities or challenges faced by rural communities, is supported through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Councillor Gareth Lloyd, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Economic and Community Development Services, Ceredigion County Council said, “We hope that this call for project ideas will continue to enhance the capability of rural communities, providing opportunities to develop the rural economy of Ceredigion.”

The five themes that ideas can be supported under include: enhancing the natural and cultural resources of Ceredigion; facilitating pre-commercial activity and new business partnerships and networks; exploring new ways of delivering non-statutory services, facilities and activities; exploring renewable energy opportunities; and making the most of digital technology in local communities. Cynnal y Cardi welcomes ideas under any of the above five themes, in particular those that can be supported under the second, fourth and fifth themes.

The second theme aims to support a knowledge-based economy, strengthening networks between community and business sectors in the county by sharing best practice and resources. Supporting new and innovative opportunities is key to this theme in terms of trialling new products/processes and supporting feasibility and research work.

One of the challenges facing Ceredigion is the number of young people leaving the county to find work elsewhere. Ideas are welcome under the second theme to support initiatives that assist individuals to access work, training, volunteering opportunities and other services and to encourage leadership skills as well as upskilling Ceredigion’s employment workforce.

The fourth theme aims to support ideas relating to renewable energy on a community level. Support is available for pre-development work such as facilitating partner/stakeholder meetings, undertaking familiarisation study visits and investigating the feasibility of developing a community renewable initiative. Reducing the impact of long term rises in living costs is also a priority.

The fifth theme supports ideas that ensure the best use is made of new and emerging technologies that are key to developing the rural economy. Ideas can relate to the piloting of projects that improve service delivery to remoter areas; that combat isolation; that support skills development and opportunities promoting the culture and heritage sectors for the economic benefits of the county.

Chair of the Cynnal y Cardi LAG, Mared Rand Jones said: “These are just a few areas of activity that Cynnal y Cardi Local Action Group is looking to support.  Ceredigion has a lot of potential and so we are looking for innovative ideas from people who want to make a real difference to their rural communities. Whether it is a pilot project or a feasibility study that needs supporting and developing – it’s a positive step toward a stronger and more resilient Ceredigion.”

To discuss your ideas and for information regarding eligibility of support, please call Meleri Richards or Marie Evans on 01545 572063 or visit www.cynnalycardi.org.uk. The closing dates in 2018 for submitting ideas/expressions of interest are: 05 March; 11 June; 10 September; and 17 December. All submissions are welcome in Welsh or English.