Objective One brings a positive start to 2001

The seven-year Objective One programme designed to bring new prosperity to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is already having a good impact, according to the programme’s director.

Reviewing what Objective One had achieved so far, Bill Bawden said that 35 projects have been approved since the funding programme began just five months ago.

And money for smaller, community schemes should soon begin to be available now that the strategies for the first six of the programme’s Integrated Area Plans have also been endorsed.

Each area of Cornwall and Scilly will be getting its own Integrated Area Plan (or IAP), setting out individual local strategies for helping their communities access Objective One money for economic, social and environmental projects.

So far, the strategies for the Isles of Scilly, Penwith, South Kerrier and three Restormel IAPs have been endorsed, meaning that these IAPs will now be able to begin looking at applications for funding small local projects.

IAPs are also being developed for North Kerrier (Tin Country), Carrick, Bodmin Moor, North Cornwall and South East Cornwall and the local strategies for these areas are due to be endorsed early in the New Year.

Mr Bawden said: “Getting all the IAPs in place is tremendously important for ensuring Objective One money can reach the smaller local projects that will mean so much to individual communities.

“For Objective One to achieve its aim of increased prosperity for all we need to get the right mix of local schemes and larger, county-wide projects.”

He added: “I think we’re in a very good position at the start of 2001. The programme only began at the end of July. That was when Europe agreed to our plan for how we will spend the funding available.

“This is a seven-year programme. We’re not even six months into it yet and we already have most of the processes in place and working. We’ve had 35 projects approved and there are nearly 90 more in the pipeline being assessed to make sure they are of the quality needed to make a difference to our future.”

Mr Bawden added that out of the 35 projects approved, so far 10 have been unveiled – and several more are due to go public within the next couple of weeks.

Those announced so far include:

  • An innovative new development at Tolvaddon near Camborne that will see a derelict brownfield site replaced with high quality business premises using geothermal heating and other environmentally friendly techniques.

  • Training projects teaching IT skills, helping Cornish people recovering from mental ill health to get back into work and helping underachieving students to realise their employment potential.

  • A business information service to support the many small firms and entrepreneurs that are such a crucial sector of the local economy.

  • Support for a project to provide a renewable energy centre in North Cornwall.

  • Improving the level of construction skills by giving on-the-job and formal training to people from one of the region’s most economically depressed areas.

    Mr Bawden said: “Most of the projects so far have been training orientated – and it is very important that we do develop people through the programme. But I think you will see many more ‘bricks and mortar’ projects over the next year.”

    Although there are many projects currently being assessed, Mr Bawden also endorsed the call made last month by the programme’s Learning & Skills Task Force, which said more quality applications are needed.

    He said: “It’s not enough just to think of ways of spending the money. This is a one-off opportunity and if we are really to make a difference we need quality projects that address the long-term issues.

    “As the task force pointed out, it’s not enough just to develop training projects for the sake of training. To increase prosperity, that training has to serve a purpose and provide a skill that an employer will be able to use.”

    Mr Bawden added: “That principle applies to all areas of the programme. We’ve got to look at the wider impact of what we are doing and why we are doing it.

    “If we want Cornwall and Scilly to be successful we can’t just continue to do things the same way. The old ways haven’t worked – that’s why we’re in the position of being one of Europe’s poorest regions. If we want to reverse that position we’ve got to change the way we think.”

    But he concluded: “Objective One is working. People in Cornwall and Scilly are already beginning to build new partnerships and think creatively. We’re not there yet but we’ve certainly made a good start.”

    Anyone considering developing a project should contact the programme’s Helpline on 0800 028 0120 for referral to an expert adviser. A step-by-step guide to developing projects – as well as further information about what the programme has achieved so far – can be found on the website www.objectiveone.com.


    Editors notes:

    Jason Clark
    Communications Manager
    Objective One Partnership Office
    Castle House
    Pydar Street
    Truro TR1 2UD
    Tel:01872 241379
    Fax:01872 241388