More than £600,000 has been awarded to voluntary and community groups through the Department of Agriculutre, Environment and Rural Affairs Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme.
The scheme is funded through DAERA’s Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Programme (TRPSI) and provides rural based voluntary and community groups with grant awards of between £200 and £1,500 to purchase capital items, improve a capital asset or extend the useable life of a capital asset. This year 493 rural organisations have been awarded grants, representing a total investment of £609,000. This investment has the potential to benefit 200,000 rural dwellers across Northern Ireland.
Minister Michelle McIlveen announced the total funding award during a visit to Ballyhalbert Community Association, where she handed over a ‘Letter of Offer’ under the Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme to Mr Craig Billington, chairperson of Ballyhalbert Community Association.
The minister said: “I congratulate Ballyhalbert Community Association on their award of £1,294 under the Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme. Craig has told me how this award will help improve and promote the services provided by the Association to the community of Ballyhalbert and surrounding area.
“The significant impact that these small grants can make highlights the importance of the scheme. Used wisely, organisations like Ballyhalbert can purchase a wide range of capital items that can enhance the invaluable work that they undertake for their community. The impact that these micro grants can make is considerable.”
The minister continued: “Building on the success of phases one and two of this scheme, a further 493 rurally based voluntary and community organisations have been awarded grants of between £200 and £1,500 through the latest Phase of the Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme, representing an investment of just over £600,000. These projects, financed from my department’s Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Programme budget, will motivate so many groups to continue their work and will benefit thousands of rural dwellers who rely so much on their local community or voluntary group for interaction and stimulation.”
Minister McIlveen concluded: “Community and Voluntary organisations are the heart of so many rural areas. They excel at creating community spirit and providing people with a sense of belonging. I congratulate all 493 organisations on their successful applications to the scheme.”