Portugal’s schist villages “only national finalist in Regiostars awards”

EU funded award distinguishes projects of excellence

Portugal’s network of schist villages is the only Portuguese finalist for the Regiostars Awards 2023 – an award that distinguishes projects of excellence funded by the European Union.

A series of 27 schist villages are competing in the category “A Europe Closer to Citizens“.

Winners will be announced on in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on November 16

For Paulo Fernandes, president of ADXTUR – Agency for the Tourist Development of Schist Villages – the nomination is due to everyone involved having pulled together

“Work developed in close collaboration with a wide network of partners, public and private, which continues to grow and which, in an assertive and cohesive manner, has been responding to new challenges and needs, cooperating and mobilising in favour of the affirmation and development of a territory and an idea of the future”, he told Lusa.

Isabel Damasceno, president of the Commission for Coordination and Regional Development of the Centre Region (CCDR Centro)  said that recognition of the project “is the corollary of a bet made, over two decades, in a territory marked by depopulation of the rural world”.

“The use of European funds, combined with mobilised private investment, has boosted the local economy of the schist villages, contributing to territorial cohesion in the region”, she stressed.

According to ADXTUR, the nomination is justified by the joint commitment to preserving and promoting “a unique cultural identity, through the implementation of innovative projects, linked to various areas of society and supported by European funds, calling for new knowledge and looks, opening up to the world and without fear of experimenting“.

The objective of the Aldeias do Xisto network, based in Fundão, in the district of Castelo Branco, is to affirm this territory as a destination to live, invest, create and learn, visit and enjoy in order to boost the local economy and create job opportunities and economic return for local agents.

“The project has placed – and continues to place – local communities at the centre of development, actively involving them in all phases, from planning to implementation”, ADXTUR adds.

Source material: Lusa