County showcases its regeneration projects
Flagship projects in Cornwall which have helped to regenerate local areas thanks to European funding have been visited by a high-level delegation from Wales.
Cornwall and south west Wales are both classed as Convergence regions under EU Structural Fund rules and share a number of economic similarities.
The Welsh delegation, including representatives from the Welsh Government, visited the Eden Project, where social enterprise projects have combined with the world-class visitor attraction to produce successful social and environmental projects at home and abroad.
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The group also visited Heartlands in Pool, where investment has transformed 19 acres of disused mining land into business, conference and community facilities around restored Cornish heritage buildings.
Councillor Chris Ridgers, the Cornwall Council's portfolio holder for economy and regeneration, said: "European Union funding programmes form an important element in Cornwall's economic recovery journey.
"We are looking towards our future funding programmes which will run from 2014-2020 to further close the gap that exists between us and the UK and EU.
"We share similar challenges and objectives to our Welsh neighbours and by working closely with them we can share experiences, ideas and coordinate views we express to Brussels about the arrangements for the next funding programme."
The delegation's tour also took in Pool Innovation Centre, where start-up or existing businesses are helped to grow, where informal presentations were given by Tarn Lamb, from Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change, and David Rodda, from Cornwall Development Company.
They also spent time at Fifteen, the restaurant and social enterprise project at Watergate Bay launched by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
Following a tour of the restaurant, delegates talked with young people and staff from the project, and met representatives from Unlocking Cornish Potential, the programme which matches ambitious graduates with progressive Cornish companies.
Alun Davies AM, deputy minister for agriculture, food, fisheries and European programmes said: "I am always keen to share our experiences and ideas.
"We share the same ambitions as Cornwall and there are important lessons that we can learn from each other when it comes to making the most of EU funding.
"These funds already make a significant contribution to the Welsh economy, supporting a range of initiatives from research and development, to helping people who have been out of work gain new skills and find employment."