The Rural Development Programme (RDP) has delivered tangible benefits for the community of Ballyholland, Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has said.
Minister O’Neill was speaking as she officially opened a new £1.2million multipurpose community resource centre in Ballyholland, Newry, Co Down.
Ballyholland Development Association (BDA) were awarded £800,000 funding under Axis 3 of the Rural Development Programme, Measure 3.4 - Basic Services for the economy and rural population, delivered by SOAR. Match funding of £100,000 was provided by Newry and Mourne Council along with £25,550 from Ballyholland Development Association.
Minister O’Neill said: “The total DARD investment in this project of just under £800,000, combined with substantial match funding provided by Newry and Mourne District Council and a significant contribution raised by Ballyholland Development Association, is an excellent example of how Axis 3 of the RDP can make a significant investment and positive impact on rural life.
“I would like to congratulate Ballyholland Development Association and the then Newry and Mourne District Council for all their hard work and perseverance in bringing this excellent project to completion. This state of the art community and sports facility here in the heart of Ballyholland is a credit to you all and I know it will bring great benefits for the whole community for many years to come.”
Outlining the benefits of AXIS 3 of the RDP, Minister O’Neill said: “It is positive to see the tangible benefits and outworking of the RDP for our rural communities.
“Despite the economic climate, the Axis 3 Programme has assisted 592 farm businesses to diversify, supported 415 micro-enterprises, 58 (14%) of which are new businesses, which in total have created 712 new jobs, providing further economic and quality of life stimulus in rural communities.”