Main Content

Rural Development

Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Rural Development Section has the role of supporting businesses and the community in rural areas of our borough.

Rural Development Section has the role of supporting businesses and the community in rural areas of our borough.  These roles include:

  • Providing an administrative and financial management function to Ards and North Down Rural Partnership, which is the organisation tasked with delivering the NI Rural Development Programme in this area in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture
  • Rolling out the Rural Development Grant Scheme as part of DAERA’s Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme
  • Supporting the roll of SEAFLAG in partnership with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council as the lead administrator. DAERA has approved the NI FLAG Strategy 2018-2020, which outlines how €2.73 million (approx. £2.3 million) of funding should be allocated to the local fishing dependent communities, which includes Portavogie within this borough and up to a radius of 7 miles

Funding Opportunities

Rural Business Development Grant Scheme (Now Closed)

New Rural Business Development Grant Scheme Opening on 4 May 2022

Would you like to recover, sustain or grow your rural based business?

The Rural Business Development Grant Scheme will provide investment support for the development of existing enterprises based in a rural area of Ards and North Down to sustain or grow through DAERA’s Tackling Rural Poverty & Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme. Capital only grants are available up to a maximum grant of £4,999 available (up to 50% of the total costs of the project).  

The scheme will open for applications on Wednesday 4 May 2022 and close at 12noon Tuesday 31 May 2022. Applications are submitted online and the system will not accept any applications submitted after the closing time. 

A mandatory pre-application workshop will be taking place at 2pm on Tuesday 3 May.  This workshop will be held over zoom.  Only those businesses who attend a mandatory workshop will be able to apply to the scheme.  

 A copy of the guidance notes are attached and are available on (under Rural Business Development Grant Scheme section).

Please note the following pre-requisites:

  • Your business must be located in a rural area (This excludes the towns of Bangor, Comber, Donaghadee, Holywood and Newtownards) & have less than 10 full time equivalent employees.
  • You have not received funding under last year’s (2021) TRPSI Rural Business Development Grant Scheme (If you received funding from the Scheme in 2019 or 2020 then you are eligible to apply this year)
  • The total cost of the capital project must be a minimum of £1,000 and must not exceed £20,000 of project costs. 
  • Procurement is to be included (minimum of two quotations for each item to be purchased)
  • The project must not have started and the proposed works must be completed by 31 October 2022. It is anticipated that grant offers will be made late August / early September 2022, and your project cannot commence until you receive a formal offer of funding.  

Please contact a member of the Rural Development Team on 07920187172 or email You can also contact Mark Christie for a one to one workshop at

SEAFLAG Grant Scheme (Now closed)

The £2million SEAFLAG grant scheme is aimed at supporting projects which focus on:

  • Support for diversification of fisheries and aquaculture sectors
  • Adding value to fisheries products
  • Creating job opportunities and stimulating economic growth in fishing, aquaculture and marine based industries
  • Promoting social well-being and cultural heritage in fisheries, aquaculture and maritime
  • Support for skills development, lifelong learning, and bespoke training opportunities
  • Strengthen linkages between fisheries actors, promote good practices and foster development of fisheries areas
  • Developing and enhancing environmental assets

Grants of up to £125,000 are available for projects in Portavogie or within a 7 mile radius of Portavogie. 

Final Call for this round is 30 September 2020.

Find out more

Contact Rural Development

For more information on any of the rural development funding, telephone 07920187172 or 07795494932 or contact by email.