That's the message from the team behind the Caring for the Parish initiative which was launched two years ago and draws to a close at the end of 2012.
Local charity Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust plays a key role in the project, working alongside Nidderdale Plus to help parishes set up their own caretaker schemes.
Project officer Gillian Muir said: “We want to ensure that the good work of the scheme will be able to continue for many years to come, enabling parishes to safeguard their own rural environment and heritage.”
Caring for the Parish has already helped parishes like Bentham, Burton-cum Walden, Grassington, Bewerley and North Stainley to take on caretakers who carry out general village maintenance as well as crucial heritage and environmental work.
Through the Leader-funded scheme, the trust has provided training opportunities in land-based skills, health and safety and land registry issues to more than 20 parishes across the Yorkshire Dales and Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The charity has also organised conferences to encourage parishes to share their experiences and develop best practice.
Many of the parishes that have taken part in the funded caretaker scheme say they want to continue looking after their vibrant villages once the scheme comes to an end, and others want to become involved.
As a result, representatives from parish councils will be meeting on Wednesday 11 July at the Grassington's Devonshire Institute to look at ways of funding the caretaker scheme into the future.
Experts from Rural Action Yorkshire and the Funding Advice Network will advise on how to fund a caretaker scheme in the current financial climate. Many of the people attending will have been running their own funded caretaker scheme for the past two years.
Katy Penn, partnership manager at Nidderdale Plus, said: “We’re inviting people who are interested in the future of our villages in the Dales, or who want ideas and advice about how to finance a caretaker scheme in their own parish, to come along to the meeting. Hopefully, it will be a great forum for ideas and an opportunity to share experiences.”