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Rural funding call-out to attend workshops next week

30 August 2018

Rural businesses in the Derry and Strabane District Council area are being encouraged to avail of LEADER funding that is available under the NI Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.

The Scheme is now open for its fifth call and is encouraging new and existing rurally based micro/small businesses and social economy enterprises involved in non-agricultural/non agri-food related activities who may be eligible, to apply.

A series of pre-application workshops have been scheduled as part of the funding scheme and anyone interested in applying is advised that they must attend one of the sessions and fill out an expressions of interest form to make an application.

The mandatory information session will be held on Thursday 06 September at the Belfry Countyr Inn at 7pm; Friday, 07 September at the Strabane Enterprise Agency at 10.30am; Monday 10 September at the Derg Valley Leisure Centre in Castlederg at 2.30pm and Tuesday 11 September at St Columb’s Park House, Derry at 7pm.

The NI Rural Development Programme 2014-20 is part-funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the EU. The fund is administered by Council on behalf of the Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership, one of ten Local Action Groups working across NI.

The Derry City and Strabane District Council area has been allocated a total of £7.54 million up to 2020 to improve economic prosperity in rural areas. The Rural Business Investment Scheme is open to new or existing micro or small businesses and social economy enterprises involved in the non-agricultural or non agri-food sectors based in rural areas.  To date Derry and Strabane Rural Partnership has awarded over £1.3 million through the scheme to 26 businesses which is creating up to 69 new jobs in rural areas. 

The programme aims to support rural enterprises in areas such as job creation and enhancing export potential, as well as assisting with marketing. This may be the final opportunity to avail of funding under this scheme so businesses which are investment ready are being urged to apply. Funding of up to £90,000 per business may be available. 

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Cllr John Boyle  said supporting rural business was a key priority for Council and encouraged businesses to avail of this funding opportunity by attending the workshops next week.

He said: “Our Council has a vast rural area and we are very conscious of the specific needs of people living and working in rural communities. Enhancing connectivity and supporting rural enterprise and investment are essential to the success of the local economy and are key priorities of the Strategic Growth Plan for the City and District.

“This scheme offers the opportunity for small rural companies to avail of the support they need to take their business to the next level. I would really urge business owners to go along to the workshops to find out how they could benefit.”

Chair of Derry & Strabane Rural Partnership, William Lamrock said: “This is the fifth call for this round of funding and we are delighted that the scheme is already having a positive impact on rural business with up to 69 new jobs being supported to date through the scheme. We want to equip rural companies with the additional skills and infrastructure they need to successfully build their business and perform more effectively in the local and global markets. This will significantly benefit the local economy and create the right environment for further growth and business development within our rural communities”

For further details of the scheme and the workshops visit www.derrystrabane.com/rural or to book a workshop email [email protected] or phone Derry City and Strabane District Council on 02871 253253 Ext 6917.