Caring for the Parish is a unique project that has helped parish councils in and around the Dales to care for their villages since January 2010.  Local charity Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) plays a key role in the project, working alongside Nidderdale Plus to help parishes set up their own caretaker schemes.

Gillian Muir, Project Officer at YDMT, commented, “As the project draws to a close at the end of 2012 we are now looking to the future.  We want to ensure that the good work of the scheme will be able to continue for many years to come, enabling parishes to safeguard their own rural environment and heritage.”

Caring for the Parish has already helped parishes like Bentham, Burton-cum Walden, Grassington, Bewerley and North Stainley to take on caretakers who carry out general village maintenance as well as crucial heritage and environmental work.  Through this highly successful LEADER-funded scheme, YDMT has provided training opportunities in land based skills, health and safety and land registry issues to more than 20 parishes across the Yorkshire Dales and Nidderdale AONB.  The charity has also organised conferences to encourage parishes to share their experiences and develop best practice.

Although Caring for the Parish is due to end in December 2012 the scheme now has a solid foundation upon which to continue.  Many of the parishes who have taken part in the funded caretaker scheme want to continue looking after their vibrant villages once the scheme comes to an end, and others want to become involved.

That’s why representatives from parish councils will be meeting on Wednesday 11th July at the Devonshire Institute in Grassington to look at ways of funding the caretaker scheme into the future.  Experts from Rural Action Yorkshire and the Funding Advice Network will be there to give advice about how to fund a caretaker scheme in the current financial climate.  Many of the people attending will have been running their own funded caretaker scheme for the last two years.

Katy Penn, Partnership Manager at Nidderdale Plus said, “We’re inviting people who are interested in the future of our villages in the Dales, or who want ideas and advice about how to finance a caretaker scheme in their own parish, to come along to the meeting.  Hopefully it will be a great forum for ideas and an opportunity to share experiences.”

For more information please contact Gillian Muir at YDMT on or call 015242 51002.

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