Press Releases 2014-2015

UWTSD Involved in Ten Million Euro Project Focused on Rural Communities


The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) is working in partnership with Rural Alliances, a project funded by the EU’s Interreg IVB North West Europe programme, on a project that contributes to a more cohesive EU society. The 10 million euro project derives from a cooperation of people from 6 different countries working on common issues that touch the lives of EU-citizens.

‌The University of Wales Trinity Saint David plays a key role in the partnership, providing research and development capacity, led By Dr Jill Venus from the School of Business, and working closely with Philipps-Universität, Marburg, Germany. Based on the fieldwork conducted over the past 3 years, the two university partners have devised a new Rural Vibrancy Measuring Index (RVMI) which has the potential to be widely used in rural development planning generally. The Universities have also co-ordinated and managed a Policy and Advisory Panel for the project, bringing together nominated experts from all the partner areas.

The project looks critically at global, national and more local trends which threaten and weaken rural economy and society and proposes ways to respond to these challenges and increase rural “vibrancy”. Wales is at the heart of the Rural Alliances initiative, now in its fourth year, which draws to a close in July 2015.

Other partners are all community-based organisations with track records in rural development. These partners include institutions from The Netherlands, Ireland, France and Belgium. The participating countries have addressed issues such as rural transport, heritage values and sustainable tourism.

Andy Bevan, Senior Project Officer said:

“Common demographic, economic and social challenges affect all of these communities. Foremost among them are youth depopulation, lack of jobs and housing, reduced public funding for services and facilities, and an ageing population– sometimes intensified by trends of ‘retirement to the country’. The Rural Alliances project partners have been willing and able to address these challenges, sometimes with innovative and interestingly ‘alternative’ solutions which challenge the currently dominant mantra of austerity and increasing marketization of all aspects of social provision.”

The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority initiated the project and have been the “Lead Partner” throughout. The final conference for Rural Alliances - showcasing the results of the project - will take place in Brecon, 24-26 March, with delegates from all the partner organisations attending, as well as external invitees.

Rural Alliances focuses on three key themes:

• Bringing entrepreneurs and communities together through the creation of new alliance structures to form self-supporting, inclusive, confident rural communities.

• Benchmarking and measuring rural vibrancy through a transnationally agreed process.

• Forging new relationships between the public, private and community sectors to safeguard and enhance public services and rural resources

For more information about Rural Alliances visit the following websites:

Further Information

Sara Jones
PR and Communications Officer
07449 998 478