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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 Development currently have three schemes to provide funding support, which include:

Rural Business Development Grant Scheme

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 recover, sustain or grow through DAERA’s Tackling Rural Poverty & Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme. Capital only grants are available up to a maximum grant of £4999 available (up to 50% of the total costs of the project).

The scheme will open for applications on Monday 3 August 2020 and close at 12noon Friday 11 September 2020. Late applications will not be accepted.

In order to assist you, one to one consultations will be available for applicants intending to apply to the Rural Business Development Grant Scheme by contacting Officers on 07920187172 /  07795494932.

These consultations will provide more detailed information on the grant application process. A copy of the guidance notes and application form are available below:

  1. Rural Business Scheme Guidance Notes
  2. TRPSI Application Form 

Please note the following:

  • Your business must be located in a rural area* and have less than 10 full time equivalent employees.
  • A rural area is defined as an area with a population of less than 5,000 residents. This programme does not include towns of Bangor, Comber, Donaghadee, Holywood and Newtownards.
  • The total cost of the capital project must be a minimum of £1,000 and must not exceed £20,000 of project costs. 
  • Full planning permission (if required) must be in place by 11 September 2020
  • 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 26 February 2021. It is anticipated that grant offers will be made in October 2020, and your project cannot commence until you receive a formal offer of funding. 

Please contact a member of the Rural Development Team on 07920187172 /  07795494932 or email RDP@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk

Rural Micro Business Growth Scheme

The Rural Micro Business Growth Scheme is a pilot Scheme which will provide a grant to existing micro businesses to invest in innovation and new technologies which improve efficiency and productivity, create growth in the rural economy and make a positive climate related contribution. The Scheme will also fund new business start-ups that introduce new products or services to the market place.

Funding for grants under this pilot Scheme is limited and must be spent in the current financial year ending on 31 March 2021. Your grant application will be in competition with others for the available funding and your application may not be successful.

The minimum grant support available is £5,000 and the maximum grant will be £40,000. The grants can only fund up to 50% of eligible costs (subject to the maximum £40,000). Any costs over and above this will be paid by you from private sources e.g. your own savings or a bank loan.

There are 2 stages to the process.  First, you must submit an ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) form.  If DAERA endorse your EOI, you will be invited to submit a full application. The scheme information provides details on how to complete your application.

Stage 1

You must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form. DAERA will use the information you provide on the EOI form to check that both the business and project are eligible.

Stage 2

If invited to submit a full application, you will have to provide more information that will allow the assessors to further assess your project and your business.  The section titled ‘Full Application - What we look for’ in Section 3 of the Scheme Information will give you an overview of what we will assess.

Download application materials

SEAFLAG Grant Scheme

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.