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Blaenau Gwent partners with GlobalWelsh for first of its kind diaspora initiative

GlobalWelsh, the Welsh diaspora organisation focused on connecting Welsh people and businesses globally, announces that is has partnered with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council (CBC) to pioneer a groundbreaking initiative to leverage the expertise, resources, and connections of its global diaspora for the benefit of its economy and communities. The project will also be supported by placemaking consultancy Owen Davies Consulting, experts in local economic development.

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. Across the UK there are examples where businesses and local authorities are working together to encourage their diaspora to support the transformation of the places they left behind.

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

Walter May, CEO at GlobalWelsh, explains:

“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.”

Blaenau Gwent has been historically reliant on heavy industry and mineral extraction, has seen a significant exodus of talent over the years. Through this project, the council seeks to reconnect with its global diaspora, leveraging their knowledge, expertise, and financial resources to drive economic development and regeneration in the County Borough.

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. By engaging with the diaspora, Blaenau Gwent CBC aims to support the objectives of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which is funding the pilot.

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.”

If you are a business in Blaenau Gwent or a member of the Blaenau Gwent diaspora who would like to find out more about the project and how to get involved, please contact GlobalWelsh via [email protected].