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Is your project idea eligible for funding? Please explore our Measures below and find out!

Rural Development Team


The NI Rural Development Programme (2014-2020) is open to people who live in, or organisations which operate in, either the countryside or in settlements with a population of less than 5,000.

£3.4 million of the Programme funding will be used to encourage the economic development of rural Mid and East Antrim and will be delivered across a range of Measures, including Rural Business Investment, Village Renewal, Basic Services, Rural Broadband and Cooperation.

It is anticipated that the first call for applications will take place in early 2016, when the Business Measure is set to open for Micro Enterprises applicants.

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Four Measures

Rural Business

This scheme will provide investment support for the creation and development of micro and small enterprises in rural areas, including farm diversification and private tourism businesses.

Support is targeted at rural areas and towns with a population of less than 5000.

The funding will provide capital grants for the creation and development of non-agricultural activities.

It will support both existing businesses and new business start-ups, and the maximum grant available is £90,000.



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This scheme will provide financial support primarily for the drafting of integrated Village Plans, for small-scale infrastructure projects and for other capital and marketing initiatives which can be seen to improve the village.

The Village Plan is a working document that has the support of the community. It should provide a needs-based strategic framework to co-ordinate specific development actions.

Support for Village Renewal must fit with the Council’s Community Plan, and integrate with any Village Renewal Plans that were supported under the 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme.

The measure aims to build on the overarching fabric of a village or town, integrating with funding from other government departments and agencies. It aims to address rural dereliction and prioritise the re-use of existing derelict buildings, particularly to provide community infrastructure.

Maximum grant available is £60,000

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Rural Basic

This Scheme will support capital investments which will provide access to basic services or improvements in social infrastructure.

It includes activities to reduce isolation and/or poverty, so as to improve the welfare and access to basic services of those living in rural areas, and which are an integral part of and in line with the Council Community Plan and emerging priorities.

Projects must relate to the main theme of Innovative Service Delivery, such as the creation of Community Hubs, where capital infrastructure is put in place to allow for a number of services to be delivered to the community. Infrastructure projects will be.

Limited to small-scale capital developments, up to £150,000.

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This scheme will provide financial support to fill the gap for rural dwellers and business clusters who cannot currently avail of broadband.

It will help address the very rural ‘not spots’ that aren’t within the scope of any other government initiatives.

Funding will be limited to small broadband infrastructure schemes that will involve innovative community-led solutions for local access. It is likely that only 2-3 grants will be made available under this measure.

Evidence of consultation with, and support of, Council will be required.

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