The EU Rural Development Programme (RDP) provides a fantastic opportunity to create jobs, support access to basic services, improve our rural villages as hubs for our rural communities and enhance the quality of life in our rural areas.
That was the key message from Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill as she officially launched the LEADER strategy of Mid Ulster Rural Development Partnership (Local Action Group).
The Partnership, which is the Local Action Group (LAG) for Mid Ulster, has been awarded £10.16million to deliver a range of EU Rural Development Programme schemes including the: Business Investment Scheme; Basic Services Scheme; Village Renewal Scheme; Broadband Scheme and the Co-operation Scheme.
Addressing guests at Loughry College Cookstown, Minister O’Neill also highlighted the achievements of the previous RDP in delivering for the people of Mid Ulster.
She said: “The importance of EU LEADER support must not be underestimated. LEADER funding provides the opportunity to create jobs, improve access to basic services, encourage healthier lifestyles and improve our rural villages as hubs for our rural communities.
“I am pleased that the Mid Ulster LAG has been awarded £10.16million to deliver a range of schemes through LEADER. Under the 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme funding was provided to support 174 projects and created 163 new jobs and I would like this success to continue with the 2014-2020 RDP.”
Minister O’Neill concluded by wishing the Mid Ulster LAG every success with their delivery of LEADER in Mid Ulster. She said: “I believe in the power and ability of our rural communities to deliver positive outputs for the benefit of all and I want the LAG Board and wider membership in Mid Ulster to build on the performance under the last RDP throughout this new Programme.
Speaking at the launch, Chairperson of Mid Ulster Rural Development Partnership Austin Kelly, said: “Financial assistance available through Priority 6 of the Rural Development Programme will provide significant opportunities for the rural economy of Mid Ulster by supporting the growth of new and existing businesses, job creation and improving access to service provision within our rural communities. It’s encouraging to see such a strong interest... we will be working towards getting funding on the ground as soon as possible.”