Success Stories....

The Rural Development funding received for our project has not only enhanced both the safety and access to the area, but allowed for the overall enjoyment of the Village Square for people and wildlife alike.

David Johnston,

Gracehill Old School Trust


What better way to understand what we do than to read about our funding in action!

Please read on and discover our inspiring feature stories from our last round of Rural Development Programme Funding. You can read all about the current round of funding in our Programme Measures section of our website. And, don’t forget to complete our Expression of Interest Form  for feedback on your project idea!

Share Article

Joanne Liddle

IPC Mouldings Grant Awarded £81,634.50

The sky’s the limit for award-winning Mid and East Antrim business as funding bid cleared for take-off

One of Mid and East Antrim’s most successful manufacturers has been awarded substantial funding to support its ambitious growth plans.

IPC Mouldings, based in Carrickfergus and specialising in injection moulding has worked in the aircraft interiors industry for 24 years. IPC’s components are visible in a high percentage of aircraft seats in flight today, from economy through to super first class.

The company has been given a lift following its securing of an offer of £81,634.50 through the Rural Development Programme.

Aerospace is the UK’s second fastest growing export sector and last year aerospace exports from the UK were worth $21.5bn (£16.3bn), with projected growth potentially generating an extra £796m a year.

Joanne Liddle, Managing Director at IPC Mouldings, said: “IPC is continually investing in new equipment, processes and technology to ensure a sustainable future.

“The grant offer will assist in the company’s growth plan and fund additional machinery to include high-tech Injection moulding machines and a CNC Vertical Lathe.

“We extend our thanks to the Mid and East Antrim Local Action Group (LAG) Board and would encourage other rural businesses to avail of the financial support on offer.”

Share Article

Gracehill Old
School Trust

Grant Awarded £23,437.50

Revamp for Gracehill!

Founded by the Moravian Church in 1765, Gracehill was Northern Ireland’s first area of conservation.

The local community organisation Gracehill Old School Trust, also known as GHOST, is an active and progressive group with a good track record of delivering community projects.

Historically, at the heart of the village lay the Village Square, complete with pond, trees and pathways.

Yet, the pathways had long gone, the pond overgrown and the perimeter was dressed with barbed wire in places.

To bring it back to its former glory, the group decided to submit an application for funding to the Rural Development Programme, amongst others.

As a result, new railings were installed, the traditional hedging and pathways reinstated and the perimeter gates restored. The funding went so far as to landscape the pond area, provide additional seating and planters, as well as an architectural obelisk as the centrepiece of the walk to commemorate the events of 1798 in Gracehill.

This highly successful project gives much enjoyment to locals and visitors alike.

David Johnston (Gracehill Old Schoolhouse Trust) commented

“Thanks to the funding received, not only has the safety and access to the area been enhanced, but there are huge benefits for both people and wildlife alike. Bookings for village tours are already significantly above previous years, and the landscaping work has also boosted the surrounding built heritage in the village. Already 250 years old, we hope the benefits of the restoration of the Village Square will be enjoyed for many more years to come”.

Share Article

Cameron Steele

Steele Physio Grant Awarded £42,720

Steele Physio is an internationally recognised provider of Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy and Sports injury rehabilitation.  The rural development programme grant helped the business to grow through the purchase of a shock wave therapy machine and an anti-gravity treadmill.  Check out the video to hear from Cameron Steele on how this has helped his business.

Share Article

Samuel Caldwell

Ashgrove Precision Engineering Ltd Grant Awarded £51,000

Engineering business bucking the trend with support from Rural Development Programme £51k grant award                           

Portglenone based manufacturer, Ashgrove Precision engineering LTD, is the latest business to successfully avail of funding for a business growth project under the NI Rural Development Programme.  Ashgrove Precision Engineeering Ltd received the cash injection from the Mid and East Antrim Local Action Group to assist with the purchase of a new state of the art CNC Lathe machine.

The family run business trading in the area for 15 years, has developed into one of the leading engineering machine shops in Northern Ireland producing precision components and one off fully assembled products, using Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines.

Despite the loss of two major customers in 2016, the company  continues to grow and has broadened its customer base by penetrating deeper across existing market segments, with special focus on the expanding aerospace industry within Northern Ireland.  

Samuel Caldwell, managing director at Ashgrove Precision Engineering Ltd, told how the Rural Development Programme had boosted the growth of the firm.

He said: “The RDP Grant assisted us in purchasing a CNC Lathe which has improved efficiencies as well as increasing the manufacturing capacity of our company.  To assist us in meeting predicted growth targets we have plans to increase the workforce with an additional 3 employees by 2019.

 “We extend our thanks to the LAG Board and staff team. Their funding has proved very worthwhile for our business.”

Commenting on the completion of the project, Mid and East Antrim LAG Board Chairman, Ald Robin Cherry, said,  

“Businesses such as Ashgrove Precision Engineering Ltd are invaluable to the local rural economy.  This company has gone from strength to strength in recent years and it is fantastic to see it deliver a project that will achieve further growth and create more sustainable jobs.  We wish them every success in the future”.

Share Article

Owen Doherty

Doherty Woodshavings Ltd Grant Awarded £50,000

Sublime Grant for Doherty Woodshavings

Locally based Doherty Woodshavings Ltd have been at the forefront of developments in the agriculture industry for 20 years, primarily providing woodshavings as bedding for poultry farmers and horses.

Over the past number of years Doherty Woodshavings Ltd have developed the Sublime product, which is a specialist formulation of lime and graded sawdust and can be used as cattle bedding.

With a grant of £50,000 from the Rural Development Programme the company were able to purchase an automatic baler which will package and pallet Sublime Cattle Bedding into 20kg bales.  This was only previously available in 600kgs bags and involved a slow manual process of mixing and packing.

As a direct result of the project, the company have employed a general process operative and will be recruiting for new sales person within the next 6 weeks.

Owen Doherty, Managing Director of Dohertys Woodshavings Ltd, said:

“Sublime bedding has been extremely well received in the dairy sector and offers an innovation bedding solution as it is a healthier cleaner alternative to traditional bedding.  The new automated baler system allows us to provide the packaging option which the market has asked for and process this on a much larger scale.

I would like to thank the Mid and East Antrim Local Action Group (LAG) Board as the grant we received will assist in our aim of developing the company into one of Northern Ireland’s leading agriculture bedding suppliers”.

Share Article

Robert McKay

Whitehill Caravan Park Grant Awarded £50,000

Happy campers in Whitehill following Rural Development grant

Whitehill Caravan Park in Carnlough has extended its site after securing a £50,000 grant they received through the Mid and East Antrim Rural Development Programme.

The family run caravan park has been trading since 1974. 

The site sits in a spectacular setting with views to the mountains and sea, and is within a five minute walk of the village centre. 

The park provided space for 90 caravan pitches but over the years the supply of pitches has been exhausted in the village and in the Glens of Antrim.

With the grant they received it allowed them to create an extension of 22 new static pitches and five touring pitches. 

The village of Carnlough is heavily reliant on the tourism business so the park extension will supplement the trade of many local business especially in the quieter off peak seasons. 

The creation of the five touring sites will also provide a form of overnight tourist accommodation not currently available anywhere in the village of Carnlough.

Robert McKay, Owner, Whitehill Caravan Park said: “The funding from the Mid & East Antrim RDP has allowed us to extend our park to meet the increasing demand for tourist accommodation on the Antrim Coast.  

“We’ve now welcomed 22 new families on to the park’s static pitches and look forward to hosting touring caravanners for seasons to come. These families and visitors are critical to the ongoing growth of Carnlough, and we’re extremely grateful for the investment from the LAG Board to facilitate this expansion.”

Commenting on the completion of the project, Mid and East Antrim LAG Board Vice Chair, Kelli Bagchus, said: “The LAG is delighted Whitehill Caravan Park were able to avail of this funding. There is currently a gap along the Causeway Coastal route for touring visitors and the expansion will help fill this.  In addition it will boost the evening economy in Carnlough”.


Share Article

5 Reasons to
Get Involved

We’ve put together a simple list as to why we think you should get involved with our programme.

  • We can provide you with a grant to start or grow your business.
  • We offer funding to regenerate and improve the rural area.
  • We can support you through the application process.
  • We can direct you to other organisations who may be able to help you.
  • You can connect to a network of likeminded people.

Share Article