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BREAKING NEWS! - Rural Fund Instrumental in Kick Starting New Businesses (03/11/09)

Rural Fund ‘Instrumental’ in Kick Starting New Businesses  

Lagan Rural Partnership has just released its first tranche of funding to successful applicants as part of an exciting new rural development programme that will invest £8.7 million the rural areas of Lisburn City Council, Castlereagh Borough Council and Belfast City Council. 

Gareth Evans, Implementation Manager of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme presented letters of offer to two successful entrepreneurs at an Ulster Farmers Union Information Event in Hillsborough last week.

On accepting his letter of offer, Phillip Bell from Baileysmill explained that his grant allocation will be instrumental in helping him to develop his online business directory. He continued that his Country Gateway website will allow  rural businesses to advertise any of their services, whether they be a horse riding school or a farm guesthouse, and to trade online at a time when there is an increasing uptake in broadband in rural areas.

‘In addition to securing this funding, I have learned so much from the application process whilst I feel this funding is also an endorsement of the potential of the Country Gateway online portal’

Phillip Bell receiving Letter of Offer

L - R Phillip Bell, Country Gateway receives his letter of offer from Gareth Evans, Implementation Manager of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme, Cllr Ann Marie Beattie, Chairperson of the Lagan Rural Partnership Joint Council Committee, Mayor, Cllr Allan Ewart, Chairman of the Lagan Rural Partnership Local Action Group.

Tony Mairs, a young photographer from Drumbo will use his grant allocation to develop his photographic and digital image processing business – Tony Mairs Photography.  His new venture will provide  high quality digital photographic imagery for advertising and marketing agencies, estate agents, architects, developers and fashion outlets.

Tony said:

‘This funding will allow me to purchase the latest  digital processing equipment and bespoke software which will be fundamental to the niche service that I will provide’  

Tony Mairs receiving Letter of Offer


L - R Mayor, Cllr Allan Ewart, Chairman of the Lagan Rural Partnership Local Action Group, Tony Mairs, Tony Mairs Photography receives his letter of offer from Cllr Ann Marie Beattie, Chairperson of the Lagan Rural Partnership Joint Council Committee, Gareth Evans, Implementation Manager of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme.

On presentation of the letters of offer, Gareth Evans remarked on the innovative nature of both projects and all the other projects that were successfully awarded funding from the programme and encouraged all farmers and rural dwellers with a business idea in the local area to avail of the unique opportunities presented by the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme.

Mr Evans continued to congratulate and express his gratitude to the Mayor, Cllr Allan Ewart, Chairman of the Partnership’s Local Action Group and Cllr Ann Marie Beattie, Chairperson of the Partnership’s Joint Council Committee and their respective committee members on the huge voluntary effort that has already been given to ensure the programme strives to enhance and sustain the lives of all those living in rural communities.

The Partnership is currently open for applications under a wide range of measures that include support for farm diversification, business creation, rural tourism, rural heritage and basic service provision. The deadline date for receipt of applications is Friday 4 December 2009 at 5.00pm.

You can request an application pack for the fund by contacting Caroline Speers at Tel: 028 9250 9419 or email: caroline.speers@lisburn.gov.uk

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.

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Castlereagh Borough CouncilLisburn City CouncilBelfast City CouncilDARDRural Development PartnershipEU