An investment of £283,000 will improve services and outdoor space for the Ards and North Down community of Kircubbin, DAERA Minister Edwin Poots has said.
The Minister was speaking as he visited two projects in the Ards and North Down Borough Council area that benefited from funding of £283,000 from the LEADER NI Rural Development Programme, managed by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
The Minister began his visit in Kircubbin Green to view a completed project consisting of perimeter tree planting, installation of seating, the addition of planters and other landscaping works.
These works have created a civic space in the village following the award of an £83,000 grant from the Village Renewal Scheme.
Mr Poots then travelled to Ballycran GAC, which received a contribution of £200,000 from the Basic Services Scheme towards a £345,000 project which has created a new build community space that includes a multi-purpose indoor hall (for after schools, events, parties, health initiatives), a gymnasium, a dance studio and changing rooms.
Welcoming the overall investment in the Kircubbin schemes, Mr Poots said: “The schemes I visited today represent an investment of £283,000 from DAERA which, coupled with other funds that have been levered in, brings the total to over £450,000.
“These schemes have helped sustain groups and provide enhanced community facilities and services for the residents, both young and old, of Ards and North Down.
Mr Poots concluded: “I am delighted that despite the many recent challenges brought about by the Covid-19 crisis these projects, like many other projects throughout the borough, have been completed.
“I want to thank all those involved for their hard work and dedication in bringing these to fruition.”
The former Chairman of Ards and North Down Rural Partnership, the Local Action Group tasked with delivering the Rural Development Priority 6 funding in the council region, Councillor Joe Boyle, said: “The Rural Development Programme has made a very significant difference to rural communities in the Ards and North Down Borough.
“£3.6 million of grant aid has been delivered to date with a further £0.6m to be provided by the end of the programme in 2022 across 78 projects.
“This has supported 31 businesses and helped to create 45 FTE jobs to date along with a wide range of basic services and village renewal schemes.
“These projects provide both economic and social value to our area.
“We again welcome the Minister to Kircubbin, following on from his visits to Ballygowan and Killinchy at the end of September, and we remain very grateful to him and his department for assisting the Local Action Group in administering this essential funding in our rural area.”
Deputy Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Robert Adair, also participated in the visit.
He said: “It is fantastic to see this very significant investment in new facilities for our rural communities.
“They will make a very real difference for local people and are a great boost to our rural economy.
“We are very grateful to the Minister and his department for the funding and ongoing support.”