A VILLAGE branding project has been launched to improve the fortunes of rural communities.
And it is the quirks identified by residents themselves which could transform 10 Cheshire towns and villages - including Frodsham, Neston, Malpas and Tarporley.
A Cheshire-wide survey has been distributed to residents asking them to identify the uniqueness of their own towns and villages.
The feedback will be used to rejuvenate the selected areas and could lead to large -scale investment in areas like tourism to ensure their long term survival.
Filip Prevc, rural development manager at the County Council said: 'We are very keen to remain proactive in keeping these communities alive. It is essential to make sure each town can carry on supporting its own economy.'
What is it about your village that is unlike anywhere else? >>>
What is it about your village that is unlike anywhere else? Have you ever reflected on what it is that makes your village so unique? A new Cheshire County Council survey poses the question: What kind of a brand does a village have? LIZA WILLIAMS found out more.
THE future of some of Cheshire's most distinct villages could actually depend upon their past.
Cheshire County Council have launched an initiative to stamp individual identity on to the areas to prompt investment and rejuvenation.
Residents have been asked to ponder the question 'what is unique or distinct about your community?' in a village branding project.
The results of the survey are being reported next Friday.
Whether it be growing pumpkins in spring, fishing in millponds, tractor rallies,
baking fresh bread or making cheese or growing fresh fruit - villages' greatest assets could be their history, heritage and sense of belonging.
Filip Prevc, the rural development manager at Cheshire County Council, explained that the county is seeking to commission work that identifies local distinctiveness of Cheshire's market towns. The project will focus on Cheshire's key market
towns, identifying strong themes and characteristics for each town, or cluster of towns that might be used as an anchor to help attract new investment.
The scheme may help provide funding for the set-up costs of the parish plan. Surveys have been distributed to local residents, data collected and historical significance considered to identify the uniqueness of each town involved, including Frodsham, Neston, Bollington and Malpas.
Once the results have been compiled, each town's unique attribute will be used as a marketing tool to prompt inward investment and help rural communities remain self sufficient.
It is hoped that economic factors such as tourism and retail will expand due to the marketing scheme and that each town involved will become synonymous with a certain feature or idiosyncrasy.
Filip Prevc said: 'The key to this initiative is self sufficiency. The market towns involved in this project are fundamental to surrounding rural communities economically, culturally and in so many other ways.
'We are very keen to remain proactive in keeping these communities alive.
'The organisation that is carrying out the questionnaires undertook a similar project in the North East of England and the main worry there was that all market towns look the same.
'It was therefore obvious that the way to avoid decline in these areas is to pinpoint what makes each one of them special.'
Mr Prevc also pointed out how central local residents' views are in the scheme, 'the questionnaire that has been distributed in the relevant towns and villages is the central source of information for us. Local residents are the people that know the areas best and will know what each town has to offer'.
In total £25,000 has been invested into the initiative; £10,000 by Cheshire County Council, £10,000 by the North West Development agency and £5,000 by the individual towns taking part.
Mr Prevc added: 'Initiatives such as the Market Towns Initiative, which has pumped funds into these areas, will help with the initial rejuvenation. For example, Frodsham has received £1.6 million from the scheme.'