A North Tyneside town with a rich heritage has been selected for a national scheme to boost its economic growth.
North Shields has been paired with Merthyr Tydfil in the Welsh Valleys.
It is one of ten UK towns selected for a domestic ‘twinning’ trial by Carnegie UK Trust aimed at reinvigorating town economies.
The aim is to pair towns with similar characteristics or challenges, but potentially with different back stories, to consider how to make positive change.
Both were historically industrial towns, with North Shields trading in fishing and shipbuilding and Merthyr Tydfil in iron and coal.
They now have the same focus of attracting economic growth and improving the employment and wellbeing opportunities for their citizens.
Over the next 18 months, both will build their ties, develop a body of evidence, receive economic planning support, and have access to catapult funds to kick start new commercial, voluntary and social enterprise activity. They will also devise a twinning action plan.
The North Shields Twin Town partnership is being led by the North Shields Chamber of Trade and Commerce.
David Bavaird, chair of the North Shields Chamber of Trade & Commerce, said: “The Chamber is excited to have been selected as a part of the Twin Towns project and we look forward to working with Merthyr Tydfil representatives. We hope this will help to stimulate economic activity and make our towns more attractive.”
Gina Wilson, development manager at the Carnegie UK Trust, said: “Twin Towns is aimed at encouraging towns to make a positive impact locally, especially at a time when devolution of power to cities and regions is becoming more prevalent.
“In fostering new relationships with partners that towns might not have considered before, it will provide a new perspective and hopefully new solutions to real and current issues.
“Whilst we don’t expect the towns’ concerns to be resolved overnight, we hope that the new partnerships will be the start of something positive.”