Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots met with community groups in Ballymacnab and Redrock in County Armagh to see and hear how funding of £270,000 from the Rural Development Programme (RDP) has made a positive difference for their rural areas.
The Minister began his visit in Ballymacnab, where he met with representatives from Ballymacnab Community Development Association Limited, to view their refurbished and extended community building which received funding of £172,000 from the RDP.
The building now provides facilities that enable various groups to meet including Parent and Toddler group, Zumba group, Golden Year’s, and the Men’s Shed. Talks and information sessions on improving health for the local community have also taken place in the hall.
Minister Poots then travelled to the Redrock Orange Hall where he met with representatives of Redrock Development Partnership to hear how RDP funding of £97,000 improved and transformed the hall for wider use by the local community. A dedicated health and well–being hub has now been established, along with a youth, gaming area and drop in facilities. Access to ICT has also been made possible for those needing this service in the community.
Welcoming the refurbishment of both community halls, Minster Poots said, “I would like to congratulate both Ballymacnab Community Development Association and Redrock Development Partnership for their hard work in securing a total of just under £270,000 grant funding from the RDP.
“I’ve had the opportunity today to see and hear how this funding has made a real difference to these rural communities through the excellent refurbished community buildings.
“When Covid restrictions recede, community halls like these will become a central hub and play an invaluable role in helping communities to build stronger relationships, and help to address the impact of the isolation associated with social distancing and shielding.”
Notes to editors:
- Southern Organisation for Action in Rural Areas (SOAR ABC) supports the rural community in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area by providing support through a number of programmes, namely Rural Business Investment Scheme; Rural Basic Services Scheme; Village Renewal Scheme and Co-operation Projects.
- The Rural Basic Services Scheme aims to support capital investments which provide access to basic services or improvements in social infrastructure including activities to reduce isolation and/or poverty of those living in rural areas. The Community Voluntary Sector are the main recipients of the funding to create community hubs or improve facilities for the benefit of rural communities.
- To date 180 Letters of Offer worth over £16m have been issued to Basic Services projects across Northern Ireland. An additional £6.2m has been levered into the scheme by way of match funding.
- SOAR (ABC) have an overall budget of £8.02m and they allocated £1.38m from that budget to their Rural Basic Services Scheme.
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