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Pompeii finishes €105 million restoration project

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A photo of the landmark site of Pompeii in Italy
Restoration of the cultural landmark took 10 years

“Grande Progetto Pompei”, a major project to restore the Pompeii archaeological site has been concluded.

The project lasted 10 years at a cost of a total funding of €105 million – €78 million of it received from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The restoration of the cultural landmark and a driver for the local economy, in Italy, included 70 buildings have been restored. Improvements in Pompeii means that now more than 40 hectares of the site can be visited, and the site is now accessible to people with reduced mobility, with a dedicated itinerary of more than 4km. Buildings are now also secured against disruptive weather events, which led to past collapses.

Around 30,000 tonnes of material (stone, ash, and ground) were removed and almost 1,200 items and 170 packages of new objects and fragments of plaster have been unearthed.

The project led to a remarkable surge of the number of visitors, up from 2.3 million in 2012 to over 4 million in 2019. This project also illustrates how culture can contribute to economic development. Compared to 2013 there has been an increase of 40% of occupancy in hotels and of 20% of turnover in restaurants in the surrounding areas.

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Go North East sponsor Durham Cricket’s Visually Impaired Team

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Go North East sponsor Durham Cricket's Visually Impaired Team
Durham’s Visually Impaired Cricket Team now plays in the England and Wales Cricket Board Development League | Photo: Gavin Forster

Go North East has announced the continuation of its partnership with Durham Cricket as the front-of-shirt sponsor of their Visually Impaired team until 2025.

First founded in June 2007, Durham’s Visually Impaired Cricket Team now plays in the England and Wales Cricket Board Development League, against 11 other teams.

Visually Impaired (VI) cricket is a specially adapted version of the game that is suitable for anyone with a visual impairment – whether partially sighted or totally blind.

Ben Maxfield, Business Director, commented, “We are thrilled to be supporting the Visually Impaired Team at Durham Cricket again this year. At Go North East, we are dedicated to making our services accessible to everyone, and our buses are equipped with next-stop audio announcements to assist visually impaired passengers. This sponsorship is a natural extension of our commitment to inclusivity and supporting our community. We look forward to seeing the team’s success in the coming season.”

Tom Seymour, the Commercial Director for Durham Cricket said, “We are delighted to have Go North East, a local company connecting the region, renew their partnership and sponsorship of the Visually Impaired Team.”

He continued, “We’d like to thank them for their continued support for this programme and further showing the commitment we have here at Durham Cricket in creating an inclusive and welcoming space in the sport.”

For more information about the team, visit Visually Impaired Cricket – Durham Cricket

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Volunteers with learning difficulties plant floral displays at train stations

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Aldingbourne Trust volunteer Ben Slade
Aldingbourne Trust volunteer Ben Slade

A 15-year-old partnership between Southern Railway and a charity for adults with learning difficulties in the UK is once again delighting thousands of passengers with fresh floral displays at stations in West Sussex.

Funded by Southern, a team of volunteers from The Aldingbourne Trust near Arundel, has been out and about planting and installing colourful beds and hanging baskets that they will maintain until the autumn.

“Our volunteers get loads of feedback from passengers getting off the trains who say how fabulous the flowers look. It makes them proud of what they do and know they’re contributing to their local community.

“It’s great for their mental well-being too. Some of the volunteers used to spend a lot of their time quite isolated at home, especially after the pandemic, and this ‘Adopt A Station’ enterprise with Southern encourages our volunteers to get out and about to meet people and be more social,” says Karen Tyrrell, Visitor and Enterprise Operations Manager.

The ‘Adopt A Station’ programme also gives its volunteer skills in communication, independent travel and health and safety.

“It doesn’t matter what your ability is, there’s a value you can add to your community,” says Tracy Jarvis, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs Southern.

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EU awards recognize citizen science initiatives

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EU awards recognize citizen science initiatives
CoAct for Mental Health won a €20,000 Digital Communities Prize

The winners of the EU 2024 Prize for Citizen Science have been announced this week. Citizen science – the general public engagement in scientific research activities – contributes to a vibrant civil society and is getting increasingly popular with Europeans.

Out of the 288 applications, three citizen science initiatives received the main prizes and 27 were recognised with honorary mentions. 

The winners are:

  • The ‘Grand Prize’, worth €60,000, goes to the EU-funded INCREASE  project for its outstanding achievements in advancing knowledge on seed preservation through the empowerment of civil society and citizens, in particular from rural areas.
  • The Digital Communities prize, worth€20,000, is given to the Horizon 2020 project CoAct for Mental Health for its use of digital technologies to develop a personalised approach and improve the quality of life for people facing mental health problems.
  • The Diversity & Collaboration prize, worth €20,000, is given to SeaPaCS_Participatory Citizen Science against Marine Pollution for producing transformative knowledge that filled the existing cognitive and emotional gap between society and the sea.

Iliana Ivanova, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:

“I warmly congratulate the winners of this year’s EU Citizen Science Award, but would also like to commend all participants. Your initiatives address some of our most pressing challenges and showcase the transformative potential of citizen science. They improve the excellence and impact of our research, and also deepen the relationship and trust between science and our societies.”

The winners have been selected by an independent jury of five experts. Two of the three winners of the main prizes are projects funded by Horizon 2020, the EU’s previous research and innovation programme (2014-2020). The third winner involves both a former and a current Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) fellow.

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