CRAVEN could join Portugal, Greece and Austria in a 'no brainer' project to develop video games for a worldwide audience.

The Horizon HeritaGames project aims to work with young people to enrich the 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 planned that the project will use games as a tool to enthuse younger generations to historic, heritage places.

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

Craven District Council’s policy committee on Tuesday agreed to sign up to the project which could see almost 232,000 Euros, about £200,000, awarded to the district.

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

He described it as an 'unusual one', that it would be led by the Universidade Portucalense Infante D. Henrique (UPT) in Portugal, a leader in the field, and that there would be no cost to the council.

Deputy chair, Cllr Chris Rose, described the project as a 'no brainer' while admitting to not knowing a lot about gaming.

"I don't understand video games, but what I do like is the concept of enriching understanding of rural areas and I think its really neat that its going to engage young people, I think that is essential. It sounds stunning," she said.

Cllr Robert Ogden, the council's member champion for young people, said as someone who knew his way around a video game, he was happy to second Cllr Rose in her proposal to move the project forward.

Cllr Linda Brockbank, who said one of her grandson's was very keen on video games, also agreed it was a 'no brainer'.

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

Mr Smurthwaite told the meeting that the bid for funding 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 delivered through the new council, which comes into being in April next year, Craven has sought support from those leading on the new authority. It was agreed that the bid would allow 'sufficient flexibility for the wider North Yorkshire area to be involved i the project'.

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