The Southern Organisation for Action in Rural areas Armagh Banbridge Craigavon (SOAR ABC) Local Action Group (LAG) has been tasked by DARD to deliver Priority 6 of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Plan 2014-2020 in the rural areas of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council (ABC) area.
An extensive consultation process was undertaken between October and December 2015, with public consultation sessions in Ardmore, Bleary, Dromore, Keady, Rathfriland and Markethill as well as targeted consultation with Section 75 groups, statutory bodies and other relevant organisations, businesses, DARD target groups and the LAG.
The LAG has now submitted an interim Rural Development Strategy 2015-2017 to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for £8.02 million of Rural Development Programme funding for the area. This money will be used to support the rural economy and improve the quality of life of those people that work and live throughout the area.
Through the strategy SOAR (ABC) aims to contribute to the regeneration and development of the rural areas by supporting new and existing rural business, supporting farm diversification businesses, regenerating villages, and ensuring the continued provision of public, private and community services in rural communities, in a manner which is inclusive, sustainable and equitable.
Interim Chairperson of the SOAR (ABC) Local Action Group, Councillor Joe Nelson, remarked “This funding represents a real opportunity to develop our vibrant rural communities, create jobs and bring much needed investment. This funding will help make a real difference to the lives of rural residents throughout the area and encourage an innovative approach to the delivery of rural services”
Grants will be available under the following measures;
- Business Investment Scheme
- Rural Basic Services
- Village Renewal
- Rural Broadband
Programme Manager Elaine Cullen added “This funding will enable new and existing rural businesses to flourish as well as supporting innovative community projects designed to enhance village renewal and basic services. The information sessions will provide an opportunity to find out more about the programme and speak with our staff about potential projects”.
(SOAR ABC) will be holding three information sessions throughout Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area on the availability of funding.
Information sessions will be held in the following locations:
- 27th January 2016, 7.30pm The Market Place Theatre, Armagh
- 2nd February 2016, 7.30pm Old Town Hall, Banbridge
- 4th February, 7.30 The Civic Centre, Craigavon
If you would like further details, please contact SOAR ABC Officers on:
- Civic Centre, Craigavon – 028 3831 2573
- The Palace, Armagh – 028 3752 9618