£70m LEADER membership deadline is drawing closer

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Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has urged everyone interested in creating positive rural change to help make the difference and sign up for Local Action Group (LAG) membership now.

The minister was speaking as the registration deadline of December 19 for public membership of the £70 million LEADER Rural Development initiative draws closer.

To date, 520 individuals have already signed up to become LAG members but the minister is keen to see even more people become involved with the scheme.

The minister said: “The public appetite for LAG membership has been incredible but there is always room for more members and I would call on anyone considering getting involved to do so before the imminent deadline date of December 19.

“Local Action Groups will be the delivery agents of change for our rural areas and their communities. These welcome changes will be achieved by giving local people the opportunity to shape, design and implement bespoke solutions to the challenges unique to their local areas ensuring each LAG is a real reflection of the skills, knowledge and expertise of its varied membership.

“LAGs are a massive positive step forward for rural communities here and I am urging as many people as possible to become LAG members and have their say on the future of their local rural areas.”

Each LAG will bring local people together with elected representatives to form a partnership that will be responsible for the design and delivery of projects and schemes that will reduce poverty, improve employment opportunities and help their areas flourish.

Launched in October 2014, the Local Action Groups initiative has seen 30 public meetings attract over 1,200 attendees to date. LAG membership forms were circulated at these public information meetings but can still be downloaded at: www.ruralnetworkni.org.uk.

Membership registration forms must be completed and returned by the 19 December 2014.