Craven could join Portugal and Greece in an EU-funded video game project

CRAVEN could join Portugal, Greece and Austria in a “no-brainer” project to develop video games for a global audience.

The Horizon HeritaGames project aims to work with young people to enrich understanding of the cultural heritage of rural areas such as Craven through video games.

It brings together 11 universities, technology companies and three local authorities across Europe – including Craven District Council – to address the role of video games in culture and in shaping societies.

It is expected that the project will use the games as a tool to enthuse the younger generations towards historical and heritage places.

A bid has been submitted for EU funding which, if successful, would see young people working on the project as researchers, creators and designers from next year.

Craven District Council’s Policy Committee agreed on Tuesday to sign off on the scheme which could see nearly €232,000, around £200,000, awarded to the district.

David Smurthwaite, strategic planning and regeneration manager, told the meeting that the council would work with young people to take digital images of key sites which would be incorporated into the video games.

He described it as “unusual”, that it would be run by Universidade Portucalense Infante D. Henrique (UPT) in Portugal, a leader in the field, and there would be no cost to the board.

Vice President Cllr Chris Rose described the project as a “no-brainer” while admitting he doesn’t know much about the games.

“I don’t understand video games, but what I like is the concept of enriching the understanding of rural areas and I think it’s really good that it’s going to involve young people, I think it’s is essential. It looks beautiful,” she said. .

Cllr Robert Ogden, the council’s champion member for young people, said that as someone familiar with a video game, he was happy to support Cllr Rose in his proposal to move the project forward.

Cllr Linda Brockbank, who said one of her grandsons is very fond of video games, also agreed it was “no brainer”.

And council leader Cllr Richard Foster said he could see him giving young people career ideas.

Mr Smurthwaite told the meeting that the funding offer would now go to Brussels with a decision expected in September.

If successful, the project will start next year and run for four years – so it will be taken over by the new North Yorkshire Council.

As most of the project will be carried out through the new council, which will come into effect in April next year, Craven asked for support from those leading the new authority. It was agreed that the bid would provide “sufficient flexibility for the wider North Yorkshire region to be involved in the project”.

Some of the other actors involved in the project are Digital Urban in the UK, the municipality of Andravida-Kyllini in western Greece, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, ​​Spain, and Abertay University in Dundee, in Scotland, as well as the Memory of Mankind Foundation. in Austria.

John C. Dent