Community groups go on a foreign exchange

NORTH Yorkshire talent, from farmers to working mothers, is to be showcased across Europe under a new partnership project.

The 100,000 scheme, being launched by the Yorkshire Dales LEADER programme, will appoint eight different community groups to travel to countries including France, Poland and Bulgaria in work exchanges.

There are currently four projects being planned, but organisers are also seeking interested groups from Richmondshire, Craven, Harrogate and Hambleton.

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Rima Berry, the project co-ordinator, said: "We are very proud of all the skills we have in the Dales and this is the perfect way for groups to help share their knowledge.

"We are already planning some trips, including sending members of the Yorkshire Dales Farmer Network to France and a Skipton women's support group to Eastern Europe, but have space for more.

"These exchange visits are not just people going off on their jollies. They come back from these trips with so much extra knowledge and information and it can bring huge benefits to the area."

Mother Sophie Wild, 30, is co-ordinator of the Skipton based support group Work Net, which aims to encourage women into work, and is hoping to travel to eastern Europe with the LEADER programme this summer.

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She said: "It is brilliant news, we are all very excited. We are planning to travel to Poland and Bulgaria where there is a strong tradition of women working.

"We are hoping the exchange will allow us to tap into this knowledge and showcase the strength of our network.

"We were set up 10 years ago and have grown to around 200 members but we never expected to become an international group."

The exchange trips are planned to take place this summer.

Any group interested in applying can contact Rima Berry on 015242 51002 or email [email protected].

The LEADER programme is a national initiative to promote rural regeneration in communities across Britain.