Support Package for Peak District Communities
A £1.253 million scheme has been launched today by the East Midlands Development Agency (emda), the Peak District National Park Authority and the Derby and Derbyshire Economic Partnership (DDEP) to support rural businesses and communities.
The three-year 'Live & Work Rural' programme aims to help businesses create new jobs and safeguard existing ones and enable communities to carry out projects to benefit local residents. It is funded by a:
- £595,000 grant from emda and DDEP
- £458,000 of funding from the Peak District National Park Authority and
- £200,000 of additional support from various other partners.
The news comes as independent research, recently commissioned by emda reveals the Peak District National Park contributed around £155 million* to the region in economic output (or Gross Value Added - GVA) in 2007. The National Park supports over 14,000 jobs across 2,800 businesses – a significant contribution to the East Midlands economy.
The report also shows that businesses located in the Peak District can gain a competitive advantage due to the quality of the environment and the area's profile.
Commenting on these findings, Dr Bryan Jackson, emda's Chairman, said: “This research confirms the important role that the National Park plays in contributing to local communities and the wider regional economy. The East Midlands is one of the most rural areas in England, so it is vital – particularly during these challenging economic times – that we support people and businesses operating in the countryside. Our investment in the 'Live and Work Rural' programme will help maximise the National Park's potential and prepare the region for the economic upturn."
The 'Live & Work Rural' programme aims to:
- offer advice to anyone who has a business idea or is thinking of setting up a rural company that uses the Peak District environment as an asset with the aim of creating new jobs
- work with existing companies to help them get grants from local and regional funding bodies
- give companies advice about how they could use the Peak District environment to develop a business. This will complement business advice that will be offered by Business Link.
- help businesses reduce their carbon footprint, care for the environment and get recognition for their green credentials.
The programme will also be used to develop the Peak District National Park Authority's existing community planning work. Live & Work Rural officers will work with Peak District communities to:
- enable them to develop plans to tackle community issues. These could include anything from traffic problems through to a need for more youth facilities.
- encourage local people to use their skills for the benefit of the community and help strengthen community groups or initiatives
- help find funding to enable communities to deliver these projects
Narendra Bajaria, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: "While many rural businesses are by their very nature small in size when put together they make a huge contribution to the East Midlands economy and provide more than 14,000 jobs.
"The Peak District National Park is also home to 38,000 people and these businesses play a vital part in ensuring that our local communities continue to flourish.
"We are delighted that emda has given us funding to help support local communities and businesses through the current difficult economic climate. We will be working with a wide range of partners to make a real difference to the lives of local people."