UK & Ireland Cooperation Conference – 20/21 March 2019 – Glasgow

Delegates at the workshop
Kirsty Crichton

Event Information
: UK & Ireland LEADER Cooperation Networking Event
Date: 20th and 21st March 2019
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Organisers: Rural Networks of Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Participants: 62 participants
Outcomes: Networking, Sharing of ideas and experiences around Cooperation, Identify and form potential partnerships and develop existing projects.

The Rural Networks of Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland brought together over 60 participants in a unique, collaborative LEADER Cooperation workshop in Glasgow last week.

The event, which was attended by representatives from 30 Local Action Groups (LAGs) in each of the four countries, not only offered valuable networking opportunities, but provided a space for actual partnership formation and project development for co-operation projects.

The workshops were designed to offer groups an opportunity to:

  • Meet and share experiences of LEADER Cooperation
  • Learn from case examples of LEADER Cooperation under a number of common project themes to help improve the quality of project delivery and outcomes
  • Identify opportunities to find new partnerships that will enhance projects currently in the project development or assessment pipeline.

Event Highlights        

Day one opened with the first of many networking opportunities over lunch, which was followed by an interactive ice-breaking session inviting a representative from each LAG to ‘pin the LAG on the map’, highlighting their geographical position as well as a brief explanation of what they were looking to gain from the workshops. This exercise was really effective in establishing the needs of the attendees and helped to shape the format of the workshops over the two days.

Guest speaker, Rita Kovacs from Rieska LAG in Finland, who had kindly travelled a great distance to share a European perspective with the participants, then gave an excellent presentation focusing on the highly successful cooperation project ‘Youth Board/ Youth Manifesto’ developed by the Rieska LAG and the Cairngorms LAG in Scotland. Rita’s insights in to the process of international co-operation, highlighting the challenges and successes, were an extremely useful addition to the programme.

Susan Grieve, from the ENRD Contact Point, first provided an overview of the ENRD support for co-operation, before running an interactive ‘speed-dating’ style activity which provided participants with another chance to share their individual experiences with a series of quick 3-minute ‘dates’. This session felt more like a Scottish ceilidh creating a lively atmosphere in the room, with plenty of discussion. Day One of the event concluded with a Q&A session with questions directed at members of the NRNs and the guest speakers.

Despite the fact that the Scottish are renowned for their hospitality, it was the Welsh Rural Network that hosted a wonderful evening at Òran Mór in Glasgow’s West End, where guests were piped in to the venue before enjoying a more relaxed networking session.

Day two of the event began with a welcome from chair Alistair Prior (SRN) followed by a presentation from Flick Millar from North Aberdeenshire LAG in Scotland. The presentation showcased a cooperation project between the Scottish LAG and LAGs in Estonia and Latvia explaining some of the challenges of transnational co-operation, as well as the positive outcomes of a transnational collaboration.

Day two’s workshop ‘Transforming Ideas to Projects’  was designed to build on the discussions from the previous day, identifying potential partnerships and sharing best practice. Themes were identified from submitted templates offering projects that were underway and looking for partners; the participants were asked to join the discussion and engage directly with project representatives. This session proved to be a success, with lively discussions, the exchange of contact details and ideas as well as actual project partnerships formed.

The Conference concluded at lunchtime, but many of the discussions were continuing well in to the afternoon. The general positive atmosphere throughout the two days and the constant buzz of conversation suggested that the cooperation conference was a worthwhile networking and sharing experience for all those involved. The Rural Networks of Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Northern Ireland would like to thank all those that contributed their time, effort and resource into making the Cooperation Conference a great two days of sharing experience, knowledge and ideas.

In advance of the event, Local Action Groups were asked to submit proposals for possible cooperation projects that other LAGs may be interested in partnering up on. You can view these proposals below. Please get in contact with them if you are interested in working together on one of these proposed projects.

Developing cycling trails - Vale of Glamorgan, Wales

New Horizons Learning and Participation Programme, Wexford, Ireland

Traditional Music Programme, Wexford, ireland

Cultural Youth Exchange, IRD Duhallow, Ireland

Developing pilgrim trails, Vail of Glamorgan, Wales

Shared Use Commercial Kitchen, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales

Steps towards payment for outcomes on common pastures, Swansea, Wales

Peninsular tourism, Kerry, Ireland

Storytelling to enhance Tourism Experience, Kerry, Ireland

Innovative Ways of engagement, Ayrshire, Scotland

Transnational Quirky Games, Wales and Finland

Sustainable Land Management, Cynnal Y Cardi, Ceredigion – Wales

Social Prescribing/ Green Prescriptions, Ceredigion, Wales

Innovative Ways of engagement, Cynnal Y Cardi, Ceredigion – Wales

Innovative ways of engagement, Shetland, Scotland