Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA has welcomed investment of £190,000 from the Rural Development Programme (RDP) towards the restoration of St Patrick’s Church in Claudy, Co Derry.
Claudy Parish Community Group participated in the development of an integrated village plan for the village. The project sought to restore the architectural and historical legacy of St Patrick’s Church through a works programme centred on the Church’s exterior and its bell tower, which would restore the Church’s rural heritage, improve the streetscape of the village. The Church’s interior was also transformed to provide community space for a range of activities.
The group received a Letter of Offer from ARC NW under Measure 3.5 ‘Village Renewal and Development’ for £190,000, match-funded with a contribution of £114,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £42,000 promoter funding.
Visiting the completed project Minister O’Neill said: “I have always maintained that local people know best what is required in their area and I’m delighted that RDP funding has been utilised to restore the Grade B listed St Patrick’s Church and enhance the wider village of Claudy.
“Village Renewal and Development can enhance the sense of shared ownership, social cohesion and inclusion and build the capacity of local people to create a vision for their village and fully develop the potential to achieve sustainable outcomes.”
Minister O’Neill added: “There is a need for an integrated approach at village level, to assist local communities to realise the potential of their economic, social, cultural, environmental and built resources and that integrated approach is very much evident in the restoration of the Church.”
In relation to the current RDP, which is reaching a very successful conclusion, the Minister commented: “As the current RDP draws to a close, I’m pleased to report that almost £84million has now been spent on over 1,800 projects, creating over 700 new jobs, almost 600 farm business diversification projects and supporting just over 400 micro-enterprises across the north. That is a wonderful achievement for everyone concerned.”
In reference to the new Rural Development Programme for 2014-2020, Minister O’Neill said: “The new Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 is currently with the EU Commission for approval. The assessment of the Programme is ongoing and I hope to have the Programme approved later this year.”