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At the Official Launch of Lagan Rural Partnership at Hillsborough Village Centre on Thursday 12 March, delegates were informed of a major rural funding programme that is currently open to applicants wishing to start up or develop farm diversification and business development projects.
Lagan Rural Partnership is a newly formed Local Action Group that will act as the delivery agent for the ‘Rural Life’ axis of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme Fund in the rural areas of Lisburn City Council, Belfast City Council and Castlereagh Borough Council.
Gareth Evans from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development explained that the new £8.7 million grant scheme will provide opportunities for significant social and economic investment in the area. He said:
‘The new fund aims to improve the quality of life and prosperity of our rural areas by supporting a wide range of activities. These include farm diversification, support for business creation, encouragement of tourism activities, village renewal, basic services for rural communities and the development of rural heritage’
Cllr Ann Marie Beattie, Mayor of Castlereagh is the Chairperson of the Partnership’s Joint Committee. She said:
‘The Joint Committee is a body of elected representatives from all three council areas tasked with overall responsibility for the delivery of the programme. We are delighted to be part of a funding programme that will help to support a broad range of project ideas from the farming, business and community sectors within our rural area.’
Pat McCann, Vice Chairman of the Partnership’s Local Action Group said:‘The Local Action Group is a body of elected members and social representatives from the wider rural sector that will be responsible for promoting the programme and assessing potential applications. To that end we are also confident that we can ensure that the applications will be assessed in a fair and equitable manner and will as best possible meet the identified needs of people living in our rural communities’
The Rural Development Programme 2007 – 2013 is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Lisburn City Council provides the lead administrative support to the newly formed Partnership.
Those interested in applying for funding under the first two measures of the programme, farm diversification and business creation & development need to have their applications sent to the Partnership by the closing date of Thursday 9th April at 5.00pm.
The Partnership is also to release a call for application for the following measures in late Spring:
- Encouragement of tourism activities
- Basic services for the economy and rural population
- Village renewal & development
- Conservation and upgrading of rural heritage
Those interested in these measures are encouraged to contact the Partnership to obtain an expression of interest form. You can request an application pack for the fund by contacting Caroline Speers at Tel: 028 9250 9419 or email: email@example.com
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
1. The Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2007 – 2013 was approved by the EU’s Rural Development Committee on 24 July 2007.
2. Approximately £100 million of the funding through Axis 3 will be delivered at community level, with Local Action Groups developing tailored strategies and programmes for their area.
3. Axis 3 of the Rural Development Programme contains the following measures:
3.1: Diversification into non –agricultural activities
3.2: Business creation and development
3.3: Encouragement of tourism activities
3.4: Basic services for the economy and rural population
3.5: Village renewal and development
3.6: Conservation and upgrading of rural heritage
4. All media queries should be forwarded to Padraic Murphy, Rural Development Manager, Lagan Rural Partnership, Economic Development Unit, Lisburn City Council, Island Civic Centre, Lisburn, BT27 4RL