Aldeias do Xisto is the only Portuguese entity to be a finalist in the 16th edition of the REGIOSTARS AWARDS competition, promoted by the European Commission. This award distinguishes projects financed by European funds, which demonstrate excellence in their application and new approaches to regional development.
Schist Villages compete in the category “A Europe Closer to Citizens”. The winners will be announced on November 16th, at a ceremony taking place in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Paulo Fernandes, Chairman of the Board of ADXTUR- Agência para o Desenvolvimento Turístico das Aldeias do Xisto, welcomes this nomination “which is due, above all, to the work carried out in close collaboration with a wide network of partners, public and private, which continues to grow and which, in an assertive and cohesive way, has been responding to new challenges and needs, cooperating and mobilizing itself in favor of the affirmation and development of a territory and an idea of the future”. And he adds: “That is why this achievement must be shared with everyone, women, men, inhabitants, mayors, technicians, investors, institutional partners, friends and all those who resist, persist and do not waver in the face of new challenges and demands, with the same conviction that motivated the creation of this project more than 20 years ago”.
For Isabel Damasceno, president of the Commission for Coordination and Regional Development of the Centro Region, I.P (CCDR Centro), “this award is the corollary of a commitment made, over two decades, in a territory marked by the depopulation of the rural world. The use of European funds, combined with mobilized private investment, has boosted the local economy of the Schist Villages, contributing to territorial cohesion in the Region. It is a source of pride to realize that, for the eighth consecutive year, the Centro Region has managed to show Europe the quality and innovation of the projects approved by the Centro Regional Program”.
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, summoning new knowledge and perspectives, opening up to the world, and not being afraid to experiment, justifies this nomination and shows that it is also from the villages that the territory develops and the society of the future is conceived.
All Schist details are available on Aldeias candidacy here.
Aldeias do Xisto – local communities at the center of development
With the Aldeias do Xisto project, an integrated regional development strategy was implemented, centered on improving the living conditions of citizens, creating synergies between the various local and regional actors, and mobilizing and training public and private agents to enhance their tangible and intangible heritage, with a view to a unique and attractive position in new residential and tourist segments.
The objective was to affirm this territory as a destination to live, invest, create and learn, visit and enjoy. The creation of the Schist Villages Network boosted the local economy by creating employment opportunities and economic returns for local agents, generating scale in action and promotion, as well as establishing the conditions of trust for investment by agents outside the territory, improving the socio-economic indicators of the territory. The project has placed – and continues to place – local communities at the center of development, actively involving them at every stage, from planning to implementation. Decisions are taken jointly, in collegial bodies, taking into account the needs, interests, and knowledge of the communities.