Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots has visited a multisensory centre for people with learning, physical and sensory disabilities to see how a grant of almost £40,000 is being invested.
Aspace2 is one of 12 social enterprises across Northern Ireland that have received money from DAERA’s Rural Social Economy Investment Scheme, which has already invested £500,000.
The scheme aims to strengthen rural communities and the rural economy by making a positive difference to the lives of rural dwellers by providing opportunities for training and employment.
“Aspace2 offers terrific training and development opportunities for adults and young people with additional needs,” said Mr Poots.
“So I’m delighted to see for myself how they are investing the almost £40,000 my department has provided to help them make a positive difference to the lives of local rural dwellers.
“The social enterprise sector delivers a significant positive impact on the Northern Ireland economy, so it is critical that we help them to grow whilst they support those who live in rural areas.
“People living in rural communities face particular challenges such as reduced connectivity, poorer health, lack of access to employment and inferior infrastructure.
“I am fully committed to helping these rural communities and the Rural Social Economy Investment Scheme is a clear demonstration of that.
“I have also recently launched a public consultation on Northern Ireland’s first ever Rural Policy Framework that aims to create a sustainable rural community where people want to live, work and be active.
“Completely tailored to our unique circumstances, demographically and geographically it will have stakeholders at its heart, so I would encourage everyone to respond.
“I am particularly keen to ensure rural dwellers have their say and tell us what they think about the framework, this is vitally important work,” said Mr Poots.
n The consultation will run through Citizen Space until September 6.
n You can find out details about the DAERA webinars and enrol at www.daera-ni.gov.uk/consultations/rural-policy-framework-northern-ireland-consultation
n There are also a number of online webinars that you can register to attend.