A collaboration between a LEADER Local Action Group and community, philanthropic and other developmental interests, to create and sustain ICT-enabled local employment.
The Blackwater Valley is a rural area of 567 km² which sustains a resident population of 12 952; the majority of which is dispersed throughout a rich and fertile agriculture hinterland. Its demography and diversity raises issues for its social and economic sustainability, and also in the capacity of the area to sustain and develop essential employment, social, recreation and retail services.
Waterford’ is project animated and resourced by Waterford LEADER Local Action Group (LAG) in collaboration with community, philanthropic and other developmental interests. It is one element in a broader strategy to create a single economic zone, through which the many villages of the Blackwater Valley in West Waterford, form an economic union defined by a collective purpose and vision. Specifically, it seeks to create and sustain ICT-enabled employment locally through a smart working strategy which incorporates animation, research, training, network development, marketing and capital investment. It aligns with, and is complementary to, a range of other placemaking, amenity and environmental measures.
The Rural Development Programme support has leveraged substantial additional capital resources of EUR 2 million, enabling all capital works to be concluded and open by early 2022. Of this amount, EUR 1.2 million is from philanthropic sources and EUR 800 000 comes from the communities themselves.
Brand identity and the competitive positioning and preliminary marketing content have been developed.
An actively managed database has been developed in order to quantify existing skills and identify gaps which can be addressed through training and competency development.
Relations have been established with national and international enterprise development and promotion agencies. Their marketing and development support will be pivotal in marketing the location to larger employers seeking satellite office facilities, as well as for inward investment seeking to establish or expand operations.