“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,” said Matthew Thomson, Project Manager.
In seven years, almost 130 young people, many of whom are dealing with serious challenges such as suspended prison sentences, criminal records, substance misuse, mental illness, disability or domestic abuse, as well as a lack of education and training, have passed through the kitchen doors. 89 of them have graduated as chefs with professional qualifications and more than 90 % of former ‘Fifteen Cornwall’ apprentices are still in employment after leaving the programme.
The 2014 Awards featured projects from four categories: Smart Growth – SME Innovation; Sustainable Growth – Green growth and jobs through bio-economy; Inclusive Growth – Creating jobs for the younger generation; and CityStar – Investment projects in sustainable urban public transport.
Ahead of the award ceremony Johannes Hahn EU Commissioner for Regional Policy commented:
“The four winners chosen by the jury show regional policy in action. They demonstrate innovative and dynamic approaches from regions in the use of EU funds for boosting growth and creating jobs. The projects address the biggest current challenges like tackling youth unemployment, combating pollution and climate change, promoting sustainable transport and supporting SME innovation. I extend my congratulations also to the finalists, as all those projects serve as best practice examples for other regions of the kind of investments we want to see more of in the future."