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Rural groups encouraged to avail of new support scheme

09 November 2020
Rural organisations across the Derry and Strabane area could be eligible for support through a new scheme led by the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs offering grants of up to £50,000.
The new Rural Social Economy Investment Scheme is a pilot scheme open to emerging and established rural social enterprises (trading for at least 12 months). The support aims to enable organisations to increase their capacity, potential profitability and sustainability whilst supporting those who live in rural areas. Grants of between £25,000 and £50,000 are available and the scheme is now open for applications until the closing date on Friday December 11.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Brian Tierney, said the scheme offered a great opportunity to strengthen services in rural areas.
"The new Rural Social Economy Investment Scheme offers the chance for rural organisations to enhance their services on the ground where they have a vital role in keeping rural communities connected and supported, particularly at this very challenging time. This is a significant pot of funding which can make a real difference and I would really encourage rural groups to find out if they are eligible to apply.
"As well as providing vital investment in rural groups in the short term, the outcomes and lessons learned from this scheme will also contribute to the development of a future programme under the Rural Policy Framework, which will ensure longer term support and sustainability."
The projects must be located in a rural area, except in exceptional circumstances where the applicant can clearly demonstrate that the majority of their activity benefits the rural area or where the majority of beneficiaries are rural dwellers.
DAERA have appointed Rural Action in partnership with the Rural Community Network (RCN) to carry out animation and pre-application support activities to assist potential applicants to access and apply to the scheme.
This includes the delivery of five workshop webinars, the first of which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 10th November 2020 at 10am.  If you would wish to attend to find out more about the programme you can register online at www.ruralaction.co/social-economy/
 More information on the full support available can be accessed at  www.ruralaction.co/social-economy/
For information on the scheme and how to apply please visit the DAERA website at https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/rural-social-economy-investment-scheme