A programme of regeneration activities has proved so successful in a Herefordshire town that a development trust has now been set up to continue the work.
The Ledbury and Area Development Trust Limited held a launch event last night (Tuesday 12th July) to unveil some of their future plans for Ledbury and the surrounding area.
The launch of the Trust is a first for the Advantage West Midlands Market Towns Initiative Programme. It is hoped that other Market Town partnerships will follow Ledbury’s example and ensure the economic regeneration of the region’s Market Towns continues to gather momentum.
Speaking at the Launch, Stuart Houghton, Chairman of the Ledbury and Area Development Trust, described the occasion as marking the formal handing on of the community regeneration baton from the previous Partnership to the Development Trust.
“Between 2002 and March 2005 Ledbury and the surrounding villages benefited from a Government-funded Market Towns Initiative programme. Over 50 projects benefited from this £1m programme, with each receiving funding of between £250 and £45,000 allocated by the Regional Development Agency – Advantage West Midlands.
However, our challenge now – as an independent, entrepreneurial organisation – is to continue to drive forward clearly defined and effective community and economic regeneration projects in Ledbury and the surrounding area. In order to do this we need to generate our own income and seek external funding support. As a Company Limited by Guarantee, any profits that we make will be used for the benefit of the community.”
Speaking in advance of the launch, Nick Paul, Chairman of Advantage West Midlands commented, “the Market Towns Initiative was envisaged to be a ‘pump prime’ for community led regeneration in Market Towns – in the case of Ledbury this has certainly proved to be so.
You can be assured that Advantage West Midlands will continue to provide support and guidance to the Development Trust as more details on individual projects emerge.”
Roger A. Payne, Interim Chief Executive of the Ledbury and Area Development Trust speaking at the launch said, “our focus is on helping the younger generation in the Ledbury area to obtain higher skilled, higher income employment and to find affordable accommodation. In addition, we will help to develop more effective links between education and businesses in the area.”
Danny Edwards, the Development Trusts Association’s West Midlands Regional Development Officer commented, “this is a hugely significant time for the Ledbury and Area Development Trust and one of enormous opportunity. I’m very much looking forward to working with Roger and the Management Committee and supporting their activities in and around Ledbury.”
The Ledbury and Area Development Trust’s ‘Succession Toolkit’ recently won recognition as the most outstanding Regional Market Towns Project in the Partnership and Strategic Working Category of the Annual West Midlands Market Towns Awards – organised by Action for Market Towns.
The Succession Toolkit provides a step-by-step guide for local community regeneration partnerships involved in three-year Market Towns Initiative (MTI) programmes to plan how to continue after all their MTI funding has been allocated and used by local projects. The Toolkit is also one way that the Development Trust is generating income to support its activities.
The Launch took place at the recently completed Armadillo building which is approached by a medieval alleyway off the High Street in the centre of Ledbury.
The building – which is the work of local designer Alex Clive – is adventurous both in form and use of materials.
It includes a stainless steel shell and glass façade which reflects the complex shapes that the surrounding timber-framed buildings have settled to. These include a recently renovated, two-storey 17th Century timber framed building formerly used as a tinsmith’s workshop where local people would bring their household goods to be repaired or refurbished.