£2.8 million boost for rural villages

Villages, community groups and businesses in Lisburn Castlereagh have benefitted from investment of approximately £2.8m to revitalise the local area through the NI Rural Development Programme.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 10:30 am
Alderman Allan Ewart MBE, Chair of Lagan Rural Partnership, Paul Spence of Spence Engineering and Alderman Jim Dillon MBE, Chair of the Development Committee
Alderman Allan Ewart MBE, Chair of Lagan Rural Partnership, Paul Spence of Spence Engineering and Alderman Jim Dillon MBE, Chair of the Development Committee

£1.2m was awarded to 33 small rural businesses to invest in capital equipment and infrastructure costs. As a result of the grant aid received, 75 jobs have been created and nine businesses are now exporting their goods across the globe.

Spence Engineering, located in Hillsborough, was one of the businesses to have benefitted from the programme. They used the funding to purchase two manual lathes for undertaking hydraulic repairs and were able to create five new jobs as a result.

The rural village renewal aspect of the scheme saw Drumbo, Aghalee, Dromara, Stoneyford and Glenavy receive over £1.6m in grant aid, which went towards improving the local infrastructure of the area. These village renewal projects were made possible through the investment of £336,000 in match funding direct from Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council. Aghalee became home to an outdoor gym and Dromara benefitted from a new games area for local young people to enjoy.

Alderman Jim Dillon MBE, Chair of the Development Committee, said: “The availability of funding from Lagan Rural Partnership has benefited many businesses and helped sustain employment in the Lisburn Castlereagh area.

“One of the outcomes of the council’s Community Plan is that everyone benefits from a vibrant economy. I’m delighted that the council has had the opportunity to support these local businesses to avail of financial assistance and help them grow.”

Alderman Allan Ewart MBE, Chair of Lagan Rural Partnership, said: “It’s been exciting to see the positive impact of the programme for our rural villages and local businesses.

“I’m delighted that this funding has helped our rural business community develop and diversify, while also providing new and improved neighbourhoods for our ratepayers.”

These projects were part funded under Priority 6 (LEADER) of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and the European Union’.