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MEP in Visit to South Devon Community Learning Project

February 6, 2013 9:47 PM

Liberal Democrat Euro-MP Sir Graham Watson visited the Sharpham Trust at Ashprington near Totnes this week to meet volunteers leading a European-funded education project.

The Sharpham Outdoors Project, a community learning initiative based near Totnes, has received funding through the European Union's Leonardo Di Vinci initiative to train students in sustainable farming and biodiversity.

The project, funded by the European Commission, also enables students from across the European Union and local students alike to study at the farm.

Sir Graham Watson (centred) with project members

Sir Graham Watson (centred) with project members

In addition to offering a wide range of courses of sustainable rural activities, Sharpham Trust also supports a local charity in offering adults and teenagers with learning disabilities to develop skills in rural volunteering.

After the visit, Sir Graham Watson, who is MEP for South West England including Totnes Constituency, commented: "I was very pleased to come down to visit the project and see how European money is being spent on the ground.

"This is exactly the sort of project the EU should be funding, which develops the skills required to boost the rural economy and ensure that we have a new generation of young people to work in this vital industry.

"Too often rural areas are hindered by an exodus of young graduates who move into the cities or towns for work in other industries.

"The rural economy is the bedrock of prosperity in Devon and we need to retain these skills as much as possible."