Posted on: Monday 16 September 2019
Five Gwent sites named as Discovery Gateways will share more than £2 million Valleys Taskforce funding to maximise the potential of the area’s natural and cultural assets, as part of the Valleys Regional Park.
The aim of the Valleys Regional Park is to unlock and maximise the potential of the natural and associated cultural heritage of the Valleys to generate social, economic and environmental benefits.
First Minister Mark Drakeford and Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, with responsibility for the Valleys Taskforce, made the announcement on Wednesday (11 September), with a total of more than £6.6 million being made available to a total of 11 sites boasting world class and diverse landscapes across the south Wales Valleys.
The Blaenavon World Heritage Site will receive £180,000 to update some of the interpretation facilities at the World Heritage Centre, improve primary walking trails into the heritage landscape, and upgrade facilities within Garn Lakes Local Nature Reserve (LNR). The funding encourages the centre to improve its links with other Discovery Gateways across the Valleys, and create a more coherent Valleys wide partnership approach in the promotion of opportunities related to our distinctive landscape and culture. The funding also supports health and well-being, and job creation. The funding will be used to promote and celebrate the Blaenavon brand, highlighting its international importance.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “As well as becoming destinations in their own right, Discovery Gateways have a great opportunity to tell the stories of the Valleys and encourage local people and visitors to explore the surrounding areas, including local towns and villages, and the wider landscape.
“I am very pleased Welsh Government support will enable them to bring the area’s history, culture and natural assets to life and I look forward to seeing these important projects progress for the benefit of the region.”
Deputy Minister for Economy with responsibility for the Valleys Taskforce, Lee Waters said: “These projects will put the Valleys Regional Park on the map nationally and internationally as a place which can inspire, excite and attract visitors from near and far. They will also provide opportunities for economic growth which is a key aim of the Valleys Taskforce.
“These plans have been developed through extensive engagement with Valleys communities and I look forward to continuing to work together to bring the Valleys Regional Park to life.”
Councillor Richard Clark, executive member for economy, skills and regeneration, said: “We are thrilled with the announcement and would like to thank Welsh Government for their continued support.
“Being able to build on the success of the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre is fantastic, and we are looking forward to being able to link the site to wider Valleys facilities and promoting the area further.
Councillor Alan Jones, Blaenavon World Heritage Champion, said: “We are very proud of Blaenavon and its World Heritage status so this funding is greatly appreciated.
“We encourage everyone to visit Blaenavon to enjoy the rich heritage it has on offer."