The future of Cornwall’s maritime sector looks brighter than ever as the county takes the helm of a new European sustainable development initiative.
The three-year, €4,721,137 transnational cooperation initiative, funded by the INTERREG IVb Atlantic Area Transnational Cooperation Programme and Cornwall County Council, will see 23 of Europe’s westernmost Atlantic regions working together to develop their marine leisure sectors. Cornwall’s share of the project funding will be €587,207.
The new scheme expands upon NEA I, which promoted Cornwall’s maritime profile on a large scale with transnational events such as the 2006 Interceltic Watersports Festival.
Although the initiative is primarily aimed at boosting Cornish businesses involved in maritime pursuits such as yachting, surfing and kayaking, it is hoped that significant leisure benefits will be felt by others living in the county.
In particular, nautical ‘taster’ sessions in inland and coastal sports, such as kayaking and canoeing, will be held for young and disadvantaged groups who would normally be unable to participate. In the run-up to the Olympics, waterside sporting events will be supported to attract local and regional competitors.
Meanwhile, new training opportunities will be created for local young people as part of the plans, developed in conjunction with Visit Cornwall, Cornwall Marine Network, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Sports Partnership, Cornwall Sustainable Tourism Project and the South West Lakes Trust.
The project will also address environmental sustainability in marine leisure provision.
John Berry, managing director of Cornwall Enterprise, commented: “Our 300-plus miles of coastline already provide those living in Cornwall with countless benefits – from the beaches we enjoy to the multi-million pound surfing industry. NEA II will help us to harness the economic potential of this priceless natural asset, so everyone in Cornwall can reap the benefits for years to come.”
Cornwall County Council’s European policy & development officer Brian Shipman added: “Over the past few years, Cornwall has become a real leader in European cooperation. We now have the benefit of working together with regional partners throughout Europe and can have a bigger combined impact than working alone.”