Seeley welcomes agriculture move

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Sinn Féin’s Catherine Seeley has welcomed the announcement by Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill of a new funding programme specifically designed to improve the lives of those living in rural communities.

The Rural Micro Capital Grant Programme will be delivered by local Rural Support Networks on behalf of DARD.

The programme is open for applications from Monday, April 13, until noon on Friday, May 22. Grants of between £200 and £1,500 are available to constituted rural community organisations for equipment and minor capital works.

Ms Seeley said, “I am happy to welcome the Minister’s announcement that the new Rural Micro Capital Grant Programme, with £200k available initially, will provide funding towards the purchase of vital pieces of equipment and improvements to community facilities.

“By targeting rural community groups, this Programme can directly contribute to reducing isolation and poverty in rural areas, while at the same time strengthening community links and promoting health and wellbeing.”

She continued, “The Rural Micro Capital Grant Programme is another example of how DARD is actively tackling rural poverty and social isolation. It also demonstrates how government and the community and voluntary sector can work together to improve the lives of those living in rural areas.

“This programme is a real opportunity for community groups to build on their existing roles and to empower local people to make their lives, and the lives of their family, friends and neighbours, better”.

Ms Seeley concluded, “I encourage rural community groups to contact their local Rural Support Network or visit the DARD website for more information on the Programme and advice on how to apply.”