Business association supports Transylvanian village project

A PROJECT to develop community and business ties with a Transylvanian village has got the backing of Newport Business Association (NBA).

The aim is to forge a link with the historical village of Magura, in terms of business and education, while at the same time offering a sustainable form of helping inpatients at a nearby mental hospital.

Newport businesswoman Katy Gordon, who runs Co-Creating Balance, is co-ordinating the effort locally.

“I am running this with my friend, Arabella McIntyre-Brown, who lives in Magura,” she said.

“This project offers an outstanding opportunity for our cluttered, busy, sophisticated way of life and well-structured society to exchange cultural, economic and spiritual – in all it senses – exchanges between the two.

“It will offer greater opportunities and it would be especially great if we could start with some projects to improve the life of the in-patients at the mental health hospital in Zarnesti.”

A first part of the project is to collect unwanted items such as cosmetics, toiletries and coffee from people at home and then transport it to the hospital.

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“I have visited the hospital – provisions are basic and the inpatients’ diets are poor,” explained Miss Gordon. “Hopefully we can get something robust started whereby we visit regularly with small items which to us don’t mean much but to them mean everything.”

Although it does not compare to Newport in size, economy or diversity, Magura has much to offer. It is a mountain village of outstanding beauty and countless lifestyle advantage.

“It is not one way. There are things will we learn from them that we can’t even contemplate at the moment,” said Miss Gordon.

“It is not just about giving money – it is about helping them grow their businesses and skills.”

Indeed, Magura has been identified as having a low-tech, self-sustaining community, with very fertile growing conditions and organic status. It has a great diversity of wildlife and botanicals, a rare offering for those interested in the shrinking European wilderness, and a bright hard-working populace.

It is hoped to develop the area on a small enterprise scale, notably its tourist, environmental, food and health sectors.

The first step is to form a dialogue between the village’s respective schools, while NBA will look to develop business ties with equivalent organisation to establish trade links.

From there, it could lead to more formal ties, such as twinning. For now though, efforts are being made to collect gift boxes for the hospital inpatients.

People and businesses can donate items such as clothes, soap, toiletries, cosmetics and pens and paper, to C-lutions in Cambridge Road, Newport. These will then be personally transported to the village later this year.

NBA founder Jeremy Rose said: “The project is something that we have raised twice in our meetings and it has gone down well.

“We want businesses to develop out there and it would be brilliant to build tourism links with them. This collection is the first step to understanding their culture.

“It is very much a two-way enterprise. We have a lot to learn ourselves about their sense of space, community and values.

“Praise must go to Katy and Arabella for driving the project.”

For more information about the project contact Mr Rose on 01799 541114.