Carnegie’s plan could help town

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Ballymena could receive a major economic boost from a new ‘twin towns’ programme which is being promoted by the Carnegie UK Trust.

Twin Towns UK aims to modernise the traditional concept of town twinning, which dates back to the Second World War.

Towns with a population under 80,000 such as Ballymena are being encouraged to submit applications in order to benefit from a raft of new initiatives, including matched funding, shared knowledge and the creation of an economic development plan that could reignite their fortunes.

Aimed at helping towns to share ideas and boost growth, Twin Towns UK will support the formation of partnerships between 10 towns with similar characteristics or challenges, but potentially with different back stories and approaches, to consider how to make positive change in the future.

Jim Metcalfe, Head of Development at The Carnegie UK Trust, said: “There is only room for 10 towns to take part in the initial scheme next year. The selected towns will be supported over 18 months to build their ties, develop a body of evidence, receive economic planning support, and have access to catapult funds to kick start new commercial, voluntary and social enterprise activity.

Local councils, business improvement districts, community development trusts and other local organisations are being urged to apply. For more information, please visit: http://www.carnegieuktrust.org.uk/project/twintowns/ or follow @CarnegieUKTrust.

The Carnegie UK Trust was established in 1913 by Scots-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. It seeks to improve the lives and wellbeing of people throughout the UK with particular regard to people who are disadvantaged.