A SCHEME to encourage enterprise in a rural village will be launched next week.

Making the Most of Middleton-in-Teesdale aims to get businesses and the community pooling skills and working together to create new ideas for the upper dale.

The initiative is part of the Middleton Hub project, which also involves the creation of small business units at the village’s auction mart.

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Development worker Hayley Bell said the idea was to get people exploring how working together might create something new.

The first in a series of four Making the Most of Middleton workshops will be held at the mart on Thursday, May 8, from 6pm to 8pm.

The scheme will culminate with a business enterprise festival weekend on July 26 and 27 when ideas drawn up at the workshops will be put on public display at the mart and the Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services (Utass) office in the village.

The workshops are being led by Durham Creatives, which specialising in helping people in creative industries start up in business.

Mrs Bell said the workshops would create an environment where people could get away from their normal routine and think about new ideas for products and services.

“There are communities elsewhere pooling their imaginations and skills, sometimes to build and identity around a theme – such as Wigtown, Scotland’s national book town – or to spark collaborations.

“It’s about making Middleton-in-Teesdale a destination for people.

“It’s anyone’s guess what we might get except for one thing – we’ll definitely get ideas,” she said.

Anyone wishing to take part in the workshops should contact Mrs Bell on 01833-641010.

Meanwhile, work on the £147,000 mart business units is on schedule, according to Mrs Bell.

Four units are being created, suitable for business start-ups or for small home-based enterprises looking to expand.

They are being constructed alongside the recently developed mart cafe and are due for completion by the end of May.