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Wales diaspora project partners with Welsh council

14 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Cwm, Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent. Image: Jeremy Segrott

A diaspora organisation focused on connecting Welsh people and businesses globally has partnered with a Welsh council to pioneer a groundbreaking initiative to support post-industrial communities.

GlobalWelsh, along with Blaenau Gwent County Council, aim to ‘leverage the expertise, resources, and connections of its global diaspora for the benefit of its economy and communities’.

Through the project, GlobalWelsh and Blaenau Gwent CBC will tap into the talents of its diaspora members, many of whom have achieved success both nationally and internationally, and encourage them to connect back to their hometown or the place in which they feel most connected.

Ongoing support

The project expects to identify a range of potential place-based and broader economic and social outcomes that the diaspora could provide support with on an ongoing basis.

These could be focused on aspiration (role models, storytelling), knowledge (thought leadership, mentoring), networks (trade and export opportunities, work experience), investment (inward investment, seed investment) and philanthropic.

At the heart of this initiative is the understanding that successful economic growth and regeneration require the involvement and commitment of the very people they aim to support.

“Lost actors”

The initiative takes its lead from other similar examples from across the UK where businesses and local authorities are working together to encourage their diaspora to support the transformation of the places they left behind.

Walter May, CEO at GlobalWelsh, said: “Economic growth and regeneration generally do not succeed unless it harnesses the energy, resources and commitment of the people it’s designed to support.

“And for every post-industrial town or deprived community that has declined in the last few decades, there are successful entrepreneurs and business leaders who left to get ahead and who are often overlooked despite their strong connections to the places we are trying to level up.

“Globally over a hundred countries have realised that these ‘lost actors’, who retain an emotional attachment to their country and more importantly, a specific place, are a source of untapped knowledge, expertise, networks, financial resources and inspiration to those that remain.

‘We’re delighted that Blaenau Gwent CBC has recognised the value that the diaspora can bring to economic development in the region and excited to be working with the them on this project which is the first of its kind in Wales.”

Exodus of talent

Blaenau Gwent has been historically reliant on heavy industry and mineral extraction and has seen a significant exodus of talent over the years.

Through this project, the council seeks to reconnect with its global diaspora and drive economic development and regeneration in the county.

The pilot project aims to create a place-based diaspora network that aligns global investment, thought leadership, and mentoring with economic objectives at all levels, from the local authority to the national level.

“Pioneering journey”

Councillor John Morgan, Cabinet Member, Place and Regeneration and Economic Development at Blaenau Gwent Council, said: “We are excited to embark on this pioneering journey of reconnecting with our diaspora.

“Their wealth of knowledge and resources can play a pivotal role in driving the economic and social transformation of our communities.

‘The project represents a unique opportunity for the Welsh diaspora all over the world to contribute to the future prosperity of the places in Blaenau Gwent they feel an attachment to while fostering global connections and partnerships to support future economic growth and prosperity.”

Businesses in Blaenau Gwent or members of the Blaenau Gwent diaspora who would like to find out more about the project and how to get involved can contact GlobalWelsh via [email protected].

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago

The announcement that a three hour train service between Wrecsam and London is to begin will help the movement of those who want to leave or return to Cymru…

Guardian: the Hollywood Connection…

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
4 months ago

This is another good idea at the time initiative, dressed to look like some form of economic development policy. The WDA tried a similar scheme and it failed.
There is though a deeper issue here. It is true that many left Wales and became successful in business and indeed other walks of life – simply because the opportunities to succeed here were as rare as hen’s teeth.
What is actually needed is not a good media story but a serious, joined up economic development policy aimed at providing opportunities here in Wales.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
4 months ago

A further thought. The cynic in me asks does a diaspora initiative mean that council members and officers can pop off to America and other distant places in search of economic wealth??

3 months ago

Cymru as a whole has a significant diaspora. It might be nice to see Llywodraeth Cymru reach out to it. The country could do with immigrants who care about more than extracting airbnb rental income.

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