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Foster and O’Muilleoir launch funding programme to improve community buildings

31 August 2016

First Minister Arlene Foster and Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir have launched details of a new funding programme to help community and voluntary groups make improvements to their community facilities.  

The Community Premises Support project which is funded by The Executive Office through the Social Investment Fund will enable community and voluntary groups from the Fermanagh and Omagh district to apply for financial assistance of up to £20,000 to enhance their community buildings.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is acting as the lead partner on the programme which is open to community and voluntary groups located within the former Fermanagh, Omagh, Limavady and Strabane council districts.

Speaking at the launch of the Community Premises Support project at the Strule Arts Centre in Omagh today, Chairperson of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Mary Garrity, thanked The Executive Office for its investment in local communities.

“The community sector has a huge role to play in improving the lives of people in the district and it is important they receive sufficient support to carry out the work that they do,” said Councillor Garrity.

“Indeed, it is that commitment to improving the quality of life for all the people of our district which underpins the Council’s corporate plan. The Community Premises Support project will enable the Council, in association with other partner councils, to deliver on this commitment,” she added.

The First Minister Arlene Foster said: “I very much welcome the launch of the Social Investment Fund Community Premises Project which means that over £700,000 is now available across the council areas of Omagh, Fermanagh, Strabane and Limavady to improve and upgrade buildings used to provide services for local communities.

The Northern Ireland Executive introduced the Social Investment Fund to allow communities to bring about change for themselves. It is focused on working together to empower communities to identify their own needs and develop proposals to address them in partnership.

Today’s announcement is tangible evidence of the Executive being able to deliver improved facilities for local people West of the Bann in the very near future and means that community organisations will have the opportunity to become self-sustaining, giving them more scope to provide a wider range of activities.

I commend everyone who has been involved in bringing the project to fruition.”

Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said: “Today’s announcement represents a significant investment in community infrastructure west of the Bann. In rural areas, local groups play an important role and these facilities provide a range of essential services to their communities.

The Executive is committed to supporting rural communities through the Community Premises Support project and the capital projects committed to date will improve over 100 premises including the 26 that this project will deliver.” 

The Executive Office has committed £709,316 towards the Community Premises Support project to improve community facilities in the four former district council areas.

Applications for financial assistance through the Community Premises Support project can be made by community and voluntary groups from Wednesday 28 September 2016.

A number of information sessions about the Community Premises Support project will be held in the Fermanagh and Omagh district before the project opens for applications.

These will take place in the Strule Arts Centre, Omagh on Thursday 22 September, 2pm-4pm and Tuesday 27 September, 7pm-9pm; and in Enniskillen at the Fermanagh Lakeland Forum, on Friday 23 September, 2pm-4pm; and The Intec Centre on Monday 26 September, 7pm-9pm.

For further information and enquiries about the Community Premises Support project, please contact Stephen Cassidy, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, by telephoning 0300 303 1777.