MICKLE Trafford in Cheshire is one step closer to securing up to £400,000 of Lottery money which will see the village’s historic watermill working again.
The village’s Trafford Mill has made the shortlist for the Big Lottery Fund’s Village SOS scheme.
Village SOS – an initiative by the Big Lottery Fund and the BBC to inspire UK rural revival – aims to fund six rural villages to develop new business ventures that will breathe new life into their areas, create new jobs and improve the quality of life for local people.
Their journeys are to be documented by the BBC for a major prime time series.
Trafford Mill is one of two village projects in the North West region in the running for Lottery good cause cash.
It is one of 28 villages across the UK shortlisted today and awarded a development grant of £10,000 to develop their business proposal.
Funding would be used to preserve and develop the Grade II listed watermill lying in the valley of the River Gowy, transforming it into a working corn mill and museum demonstrating the village’s rich industrial heritage.
The building will also serve as an educational centre with community cafe and conference area for courses centred on the history of farming and milling in the Gowy Valley.
Local people would take employment as well as enjoyment out of the transformed venue, with volunteering opportunities, work placements and training courses helping to further develop it as a community enterprise.
Malcolm Padmore, company secretary, Trafford Mill Ltd, said: “Being shortlisted is great news for Mickle Trafford and the Trafford Mill project.
“It is the stimulus we need to tackle the diverse challenges facing communities like ours face, challenges that combine to diminish our sense of belonging.
“Together we are going to work hard to get to the final six so we can share more widely what we know will be hard-won lessons in the development of our community.”
Experienced business professionals – known as ‘Village Champions’ – found through a nationwide search run by the BBC and Enterprise UK, will live and work for a year with the final six villages selected for filming.
BBC One will document the projects’ journey for a six-part series which promises to be gripping entertainment for viewers as they follow the ups and downs as the champion moves into their chosen village and work begins.
The 28 villages will be paired with a village champion through a unique ‘matchmaking’ conference and shortlisting process, which will see the villages interviewing potential candidates and inviting them to their villages, before choosing who to work with.
In May 2010, the final six villages will be announced and their respective village champions will move into the villages for a year to help them turn their business idea into a reality.
Helen Bullough, Big Lottery Fund Head of Region of the North West region, said: “Two villages across the North West are now in the running to secure up to £400,000 of Lottery money to transform the fortunes of their local area.
“I am pleased to see such an exciting range of ideas make the shortlist but now the hard work begins, with each project facing the challenge of choosing a village champion and developing a viable business plan that will have a lasting impact in their community.”
Alongside the Village SOS series, there will be a major learning campaign to help other villages use the learning and enthusiasm from the programme to take a bold step towards starting a new business that will regenerate their own communities.