WEST DORSET organisations are being urged to take part in the decision-making process on how European funds are spent in the county.

The Chalk and Cheese Local Action Group provides an opportunity for the rural community to join in the debate raised by the formation of Dorset’s new Local Enterprise Partnership and the Local Nature Partnership.

Chalk and Cheese projects are part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for European Development and are delivered through the Chalk and Cheese Local Action Group.

Local projects being supported range from Whitchurch Canonicorum Village Hall – which has gained backing to improve facilities and develop the capacity of the building to serve more sectors of the community, in particular the pre-school – to assisting a Littlewindsor-based micro-business’s development of a new product line of pickled quails’ eggs.

Chalk and Cheese provided funding for the Spirit of Bridport cultural festival.

A meeting takes place at 6pm tonight, Thursday September 19, at the Springfield Hotel in Wareham.

The local action group is open to everyone who has an interest in their rural community.

Meetings are held regularly in venues around the Chalk and Cheese area, to give as many people as possible the opportunity to take part in the decision-making process about how European Funds are delivered in the western part of Dorset.

One of 64 local action groups around rural England, its principal role is to provide rural communities with a voice in local democracy, together with access to funding for projects which support their local strategies.

The discussion panel will include Michael Dower, a member of the Agriculture and Rural Convention, James Weld, general manager of the Lulworth Estate and chairman of the Rural Enterprise Group of the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership. Simon Cripps, the chief executive of Dorset Wildlife Trust and chairman of the Local Nature Partnership, will be putting the case from the point of view of the natural environment.

“In the current programme, nearly 40 community organisations and small businesses across West Dorset, Purbeck and Portland have benefited from the fund of £2.065million,” said programme manager Hannah Lovegrove.

“The Chalk and Cheese programme team wants to hear from rural communities and businesses that would like to contribute to the local development strategy for their area, in preparation for the next round of European funding from 2015.”

To find out more about Chalk and Cheese and see examples of projects funded visit chalkandcheese.org or contact the programme team on 01305 228699.