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    26 November, 2008

    Catching up

    The last two months or so have been very busy and so it seems timely to do a brief catch-up on some of the things that have been happening on the Ministerial front.

    Last week I announced £7 million of funding to help the development of social enterprises in Wales. During the debate on co-ops last week I also confirmed the establishment of a fund worth £8 million over the next three years to support community asset transfer.

    I have annouced two new strategic regeneration areas, building on the examples of the Heads of the Valleys programme and Mon a Menai, in the Western Valleys and Rhyl and Colwyn Bay, following my statement on our strategic approach to regeneration. Meanwhile, the Heads of the Valleys programme has been awarded a prestigious Council of Europe Prize of the Regions. We have also made a significant multimillion investment in the Jobmatch programme in the Heads of the Valleys, designed to tackle economic inactivity.

    At our regeneration summit, which as IWA Chair Geraint Talfan Davies noted, was a great success, I announced how we are working to create a major multimillion urban regeneration fund under the EU's JESSICA scheme. We also published the proposals for the Centre of Regeneration Excellence in Wales.

    Following our representations, I am delighted that the UK Government agreed to award the Post Office Card Account to the Post Office. Earlier this year I launched the consultation on our Post Office Development Fund.

    We have extended funding for the Assembly Government's flagship digital inclusion programme, Communities@One until end the of the financial year. Communities@One has been shortlisted for an EU e-Inclusion award which will be announced at the EU e-Inclusion conference in Vienna next week, where I am chairing a discussion on tackling digital exclusion in regional economies.

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