A new Village SOS scheme run by the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with the BBC was launched this week. The scheme is designed to help regenerate the communities in six villages across the UK. It will do this by inviting villages to submit ideas for business ventures which could be brought into life with lottery funding.
Eighteen villages will be short-listed and each will be given £10,000 to help them develop their ideas. At this stage the villages will each be assigned an individual to serve as their Village Champion. This will be a person who has plenty of drive and enthusiasm, as well as a good head for business.
The aim of the short-listed villages will be to become one of six villages that will each receive lottery funding worth up to £400,000 in May 2010. Their Village Champion will then help them to use that lottery cash to turn their business vision into a reality.
BBC Wales is following the whole project for a six part series to be broadcast on BBC One in Winter 2010. The series will focus on showing how the Village Champions help their assigned villages to use their lottery funding most effectively, and to demonstrate how Good Causes cash can be used the regenerate communities throughout the UK.
Sir Clive Booth, who is Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “While rural village life is in decline we believe that many villages are sitting on a range of untapped potential that, with the strength of the community behind them, can be turned into thriving businesses. Village SOS will leave a genuine legacy for each of the villages involved and ultimately, we hope, will inspire other villages, showing them what can be achieved when communities work together.”
The BBC series is to be presented by Sarah Willingham who has a vast amount of business experience of her own, having turned The Bombay Bicycle Club into a massively successful Indian catering chain.
“Village SOS is an ambitious campaign and one that I am really excited about,” Sarah said. “It will help regenerate rural villages and will hopefully be a great example to village communities across the UK to think about ways in which the enthusiasm and skills of local people and resources within their community can be turned into thriving businesses.”Thursday 4th June 2009
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