Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 (LEADER)
Ards and North Down Rural Partnership Limited managed the delivery of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme (2014-2020) in the Ards and North Down Borough Council area. Ards and North Down Borough Council acted as the administrative and financial lead for the delivery of the Rural Development Programme in the Borough, providing a secretariat role. The Programme provided grant funding under the following schemes;
1. Rural Business Investment Scheme: The aim of this Scheme was to increase economic activity and employment rates in the rural areas of the Borough through encouraging and supporting the creation and development of micro and small enterprises by part funding new equipment and expansion of buildings for example.
The scheme supported a wide variety of sectors, including manufacturing, engineering, specialist security glass, food and hospitality, flight simulator training, childcare, nursing home care, advanced composites and more. This investment will continue to benefit the local community by creating more jobs and inviting further investment as the businesses thrive and expand.
2. Rural Basic Services Scheme: The aim of this Scheme was to improve and maintain the living conditions and welfare of rural dwellers through the provision of additional and better basic services. Seven capital build projects have been delivered under this scheme which have provided numerous benefits to rural areas, such as improvements to physical and mental health, community space, creation of community hubs and general enhancement to quality of life.
3. Village Renewal Scheme: The aim of this Scheme was to regenerate Ards and North Down’s villages and their surrounding areas by improving their economic prospects and quality of life. Ards and North Down Borough Council have delivered fifteen capital build projects including a wide range of schemes such as improvements to community halls, play park and community park enhancements, improved landscapes and infrastructure and more recreational opportunities for Communities.
4.Cooperation Scheme: This Scheme was focused on Cooperation between Local Action groups in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The main outcomes from the Programme, which has now come to a close, are as follows;
- 78 projects completed across all schemes
- £3,862,087 of grant aid has been spent to date with one more project yet to complete which will take the total spend to £4,085,212. This is more than the original project budget of £3,150,000 as the Partnership availed of additional funding offered by DAERA
- Total investment in the area of £6.858,081 which includes the £2,772,869 of match funding invested in projects by individuals, limited companies, community groups and Ards and North Down Borough Council.
- 45 Full Time Equivalent Jobs have been created to date which is five more than the target of 40 with more to be created as the businesses grow. Many more jobs have been safeguarded.
Scheme: Rural Business Investment Scheme / No of projects funded: 31
- Delivered £2,065,164 of investment (£769,709 grant and £1,295,455 of match funding)
- Helped to create at least 34 FT and 23 PT jobs
- Supported the creation of seven new businesses
- Enabled 23 existing business to develop, expand and recruit
- Supported five business to start exporting
Scheme: Rural Basic Services Scheme / No of projects funded:13
- Delivered £1,496,536 of investment (£888,787 grant and £607,749 of match funding
- 7 capital projects completed which have impacted on a potential number of 12,225 so far
- These seven projects have provided much needed basic services to the rural areas such as improvements to physical and mental health, community space, creation of community hubs and general enhancement to quality of life.
Scheme: Rural Village Renewal Scheme / No of projects funded: 30
- Delivered £2,849,840 of investment (£2,089,537 grant and £760,303 of match funding
- 15 capital projects completed which impact on a population of 27,970
- These 15 projects include a wide range of schemes such as improvements to community halls, play park and community park enhancements, improved landscapes and infrastructure and more recreational opportunities for communities
Scheme: Cooperation Scheme / No of Projects Funded: 4
- Delivered £446,541 of investment (£337,179 grant and £109,362 of match funding)
- Partnership building with Inishowen Rural Partnership
78 projects were supported, representing a total investment of almost £7M. That is a significant figure that makes a big difference to the rural economy and the quality of life for rural dwellers.
This investment has aided the creation of new rural businesses, along with supporting existing ones, and part funded improvements to community facilities and services.
Its impact is clearly visible on the ground and will benefit the area for many years to come.
The Village Renewal Scheme was delivered by Council and videos of the completed projects have been compiled to show our rural communities what has been achieved. These clips can be watched on YouTube and will also be shared on Council’s social media channels.