Jamie Oliver’s apprenticeship scheme in Cornwall wins EU funds best practice prize - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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Jamie Oliver’s apprenticeship scheme in Cornwall wins EU funds best practice prize

Monday, 31 March 2014
Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen in Watergate Bay near Newquay, Cornwall, has been recognised by the European Union as a model for others by being awarded a RegioStars 2014 prize, an award being billed as the EU regional funding ‘Oscars’. The aim of the RegioStars Awards is to recognise good practice in regional development and to highlight original and inspiring projects financed by either the European Regional Development Fund or the European Social Fund, which prove a model for other regions.

The Cornish restaurant is being recognised for its apprenticeship programme and work in training and creating jobs for disadvantaged young people at a ceremony held in Brussels this evening. The European Commissioner for regional policy, Johannes Hahn, will be handing out the awards.

Fifteen was built in part with EU money and has received just over £2million (€2.5million) from the European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund for its work in trying to get young people with a history of anything from suspended prison sentences, mental illness or substance abuse back on track.

Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson, who has long fought for more EU funding for Cornwall, said: “Fifteen has done a fantastic job of taking the most disadvantaged youngsters and giving them another chance in life. It has become a champion of local Cornish produce and created a host of jobs in the restaurant’s supply chain – not to mention the extra tourism.

Giving these young men and women a job – something they can really sink their teeth into – and an opportunity to prove they are worth their salt has in many cases turned their lives around. I am pleased that Cornwall is being showcased to the rest of Europe at the awards tonight.

Fifteen Project Manager Matthew Thomson said: “The Inclusive Growth award from RegioStars is an important step for our social enterprise because it shows how tackling social problems can contribute to the economy. European recognition has helped us to celebrate and reaffirm what we have achieved; we’re looking forward to the future now and how we can expand our reach.

EU regional policy is aimed at levelling out the differences in economic development between richer and poorer parts of the EU. Cornwall is set to receive £535m between now and 2020.

Between 1999 and 2009, Cornwall received over £1 billion of EU funding. This funding has helped build new roads, business parks, better rail connections, one of the fastest rural broadband connections in Europe and contributed to the establishment of the Combined Universities of Cornwall.


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