£11million funding boost for rural areas gets thumbs up
Tuesday, 29 November 2016
AN £11 million rural investment scheme for Newry, Mourne and Down has been announced by the Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Michelle McIlveen.
The Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership will deliver direct grant aid to projects in the area across a range of schemes, with the overall aim of stimulating the economy and improving the quality of life for residents.
Ms McIlveen, who spoke at the special launch event in Ballynahinch, said she was committed to protecting and enhancing the quality of life for the high proportion of Northern Ireland citizens that live in rural areas.
“My Department, through the Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Partnership, is investing more than £11million to help stimulate the economy, create employment, improve basic services and promote rural regeneration," she said.
“This in turn will deliver real benefits to people in the area - boosting overall well being, life chances and opportunities.
“This £11million scheme is part of an overall investment of around £70million in rural areas across Northern Ireland and is a powerful indicator of the importance the Executive places in stimulating and supporting rural communities."
The programme will be delivered by the Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Partnership's Local Action Group (LAG).
The Chairperson of the Group, Nicholas McCrickard, spoke about his hopes for the programme, and revealed some of the detail of it.
“I am delighted to chair the Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership in the delivery of Priority 6 of the Rural Development Programme," he said.
“The Local Action Group members and stakeholders have been instrumental in developing an interim Local Rural Development Strategy to help us to allocate these funds, and I have full confidence that this will guide us towards the delivery of a wide range of projects focused on addressing social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in the area.
“Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership is responsible for the delivery of the programme across the rural areas of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, with specific focus on Rural Business Investment, Basic Services, Village Renewal, Rural Broadband and Co-operation.
“With reference to the Rural Business Investment Scheme only, the LAG were keen to include the towns of Ballynahinch, Kilkeel, Warrenpoint and Newcastle as eligible areas for grant assistance.
“We would encourage those interested in engaging with the programme to contact the administration unit for more information."
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