SOAR (ABC) Newsletter – Winter 2017

The SOAR (ABC) Newsletter for Winter 2017 is now available.  Click on the link below to have a look to see some of the projects SOAR (ABC) have supported so far and what the plans are for the coming months.

DAERA NIEA Challenge Fund 2016/17

 DAERA NIEA Challenge Fund 2016/17 

Please note that the DAERA NIEA Challenge Fund 2016/17 has now opened.

See the following links for additional information  and guidance on making applications.

Projects may be funded to a maximum of £20,000 and applications must be received by noon on Friday 18thof November 2016.

All successful projects under this programme must be completed by the 15th of March 2017.

Communities Minister launches Small Grants Scheme for equipment

Communities Minister launches Small Grants Scheme for equipment
Communities Minister, Paul Givan MLA has announced funding of £270,000 for a small grants pilot programme to provide assistance to voluntary and community organisations to purchase equipment.

The Programme will be run across Northern Ireland and will be aimed at small organisations who may have difficulty accessing more mainstream funding programmes. Awards of between £1,500 and £5,000 are available. Organisations across the youth, sporting, charitable and faith-based sectors are all encouraged to apply.

To be eligible, organisations must meet at least two of the following programme outcomes: Objective 1  – Partnership and collaboration Objective 2  – Income generation and/or cost reduction Objective 3  – Improving access to services Objective 4  – Enhanced capacity to deliver services Objective 5  – Tackling obstacles to good relations within and/or between communities Objective 6  – Delivery of services and facilities in support of disadvantaged children and young people (0-24 years)

Groups must not have an annual income exceeding £100,000 per year and grants must be spent by 31st March 2017.

For further information, and to apply, visit The closing date for applications is 23 November 2016. 

Enterprise Week 2016

Book your place on one of our Enterprise Week Events

From inspirational conferences, funding workshops, digital seminars and mentoring sessions, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has partnered with key organisations to host a week-long programme of events aimed at cultivating and strengthening our Borough’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

From 14th – 20th November, Enterprise Week events are aimed at all businesses, entrepreneurs and ‘wantrepreneurs’. There is something for everyone interested in developing an idea or growing their business.

Register for one of our events now by clicking on the links in the document below.



SOAR (ABC) is now open for Expressions of Interest (EoIs) for project proposals under both Basic Services and Village Renewal measures for both technical support and capital grants.

Rural Basic Services:

This measure is aimed at supporting the provision of improvements in social infrastructure that will provide access to basic services which are an integral part of and in line with the Council Community Plan and emerging priorities. The project must fit in with the theme of Innovative Service Delivery and allow a number of services to be delivered to the community.

Eligible Applicants: Council, Community / Voluntary Sector or Strategic Public Bodies

Village Renewal Measure:

This measure aims to support the drafting and update of integrated village plans and also for the capital investment to implement actions identified in village plans; support will be limited to within the village development limits (within 30 mile zone) of the village.

List of eligible villages can be found on our website ( or by using the link below-


Eligible Applicants – Council or Council in partnership with either Community / Voluntary Sector


The Expression of Interest (EOI) is a MANDATORY part of the application process – only those who submit an EoI and are eligible will be invited to attend a future funding workshop and submit a formal application under a closed call.


Expression of Interests must be submitted by Friday 14th October 2016 at 4pm to Please go to the applications page of our website for further information or click on the links below-

Basic Services

Village Renewal


To discuss any potential project ideas or the further pre-requisites required please contact the SOAR (ABC) office and speak with either Elaine Cullen on 028 3831 2588, Maria Magennis on 028 3831 2578 or Emma O’Carroll on 028 3831 2583

Rural Conference & Launch

SOAR (ABC) will be hosting its inaugural Rural Conference and launch of the £8.02million Rural Development Programme in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council on Friday 17th June 2016, at Craigavon Civic and Conference Centre.

Hosted by the BBC’s Agriculture Correspondent Richard Wright, the Conference will host speakers and delegates from Rural Policy, Broadband, and the Agri-Food Sector.

For further details please contact the SOAR Office.

Rural Business Investment Call Open

The Rural Business Investment Scheme is now open for applications from 10am on Monday 6th June 2016 until Friday 1st July 2016 at 3pm.

This is a closed call for applications and all those eligible applicants have already been informed of the opening and closing dates for applications. Please contact the SOAR office if you require any additional information.

Last Call for Expression of Interests for attendees From Prefunding workshops


If you have attended a funding workshop and intend to put an application into the Rural Business Investment Scheme for the current call (hopefully opening in next couple of weeks) and have not yet submitted an Expression of Interest yet please do so before 12noon on Monday 23rd May 2016. Failure to do this will result in you not being invited to submit an application in this call as this is a mandatory part of the application process. Complete the Expression of Interest by clicking on the attached Expression of Interest link


Additional Workshop for those wishing to apply to the Rural Business Investment Scheme

The Southern Organisation for Action in Rural areas (SOAR) have been hosting a number of pre-application funding workshops for applicants intending to apply for the Rural Business Investment Scheme.

The workshops provide essential information to applicants on the pre-requisites needed to support their application, namely having a business plan, match funding, planning permission if needed and quotations to support project costs. We would encourage those attending the workshops to have a clear idea of their proposed project in advance of attending.

Due to demand SOAR (ABC) are holding an additional workshop on the 3rd May at 10am in the Brownlow Community Hub.

Attendance at one of the workshops is a MANDATORY part of the application process – only those who attend will be invited to submit a formal application to the Business Measure under a closed call (i.e. the call will not be publically advertised).

Pre-registration for a workshop is r as numbers at each workshop is limited.
Workshops must be attended by a representative that has authority to sign on behalf of the organisation – e.g. Business Owner or Company Director- you cannot send someone on your behalf.

A place can be reserved on one of the workshops by booking on the SOAR website or contacting Rebecca Hyland by email: or telephone 028 3831 3614.

Councillor Joe Nelson, Chairperson of SOAR in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough said, “We have been awarded £8.02 million of funding from the Rural Development Programme which is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. This funding will be used to deliver rural development where it is needed at a local level. The first call is focused on the Rural Business Investment Scheme and offers the opportunity for both businesses and social economy enterprises the prospect of support. The LAG is delighted to invite prospective applicants to attend the workshops and welcomes the potential for them to make a real difference to the economy.”

Elaine Cullen, Programme Manager of SOAR for Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon said, “There is a wide range of support for new and existing businesses, with a strong emphasis on job creation. We have aimed the workshops at businesses and social enterprises who are investment ready and whose projects will be starting in 2016. To decide if you are investment ready please check the Investment Ready Tool Kit on the SOAR website or call 028 3831 3614.”


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