More Rural Development Funding On Offer

A NEW round of funding for rural development projects has opened in County Down.

Farmweek Edition – 20th October 2011

A NEW round of funding for rural development projects has opened in County Down.

In the latest call for applications for monies to help improve the quality of life in rural communities, the Down Rural Area Partnership (DRAP) is inviting local people across the Ards, North Down, Banbridge and Down areas to submit project proposals under the ‘village renewal and development’ theme.

The theme aims to support the development of village plans or fund the updating of existing plans, or to support the physical and environmental regeneration improvements in both large and small villages.

Nearly £4m has already been committed to over 80 projects across the four council areas since the rural development programme began in 2009, with grants ranging from a few hundred pounds to several hundred thousand, all with the aim of improving the quality of life in rural communities.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for progressive groups in our towns and villages to access funding for new ideas to improve and up-grade the environment of these areas. I would hope that all of the eligible towns and villages will take this opportunity with open arms and help make the places where we live better for everyone, resident and visitor alike,” said Councillor Jim Fletcher, Chair of the Partnership.

To apply for rural development funding you must live in a rural location in one of the four Council areas – rural is defined as a settlement with a population of 4,500 or less – or if you live in an urban setting, you must be able to demonstrate that your project will principally benefit a rural area. Farmers, private businesses and social economy enterprises, as well as individuals over the age of 18, can all take advantage of these funding opportunities.

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 (DARD).

Applications can be made online through the EU Grants website or hard copy application forms can be obtained by contacting the Down Rural Area Partnership office on 028 9182 0748. Guidance notes to include eligibility criteria and funding thresholds for the above measure are available at The closing date for applications is Wednesday 7th December 2011 at 4.00pm.

Source: Farmweek