31/03/2010

Concrete Success In Rural Funding

One of the beneficiaries of innovative funding from a rural development scheme is an Omagh-based manufacturing company, Colton Concrete.

It received a grant of £50,000 from Assisting Rural Communities North West (ARC NW) to expand its product line.

The NI Rural Development Minister, Michelle Gildernew heard about the company when she visited Omagh to mark the release of £1m funding in the North West aimed at improving the quality of life through diversification of economic activity.

As part of the Rural Development Programme (RDP), the funding was awarded by ARC NW to project promoters throughout Omagh, Strabane, Derry and Limavady council areas under the Farm Diversification measure.
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Praising ARC NW in achieving the 'land mark' £1m approval of grants to projects, the Minister said: "Farm family members can now move forward with plans to diversify or expand existing businesses, which will provide a very welcome additional income to their farm business and local rural economy.

"In today's harsh financial climate the success of rural businesses and the economical survival of our rural communities are more important than ever."

Speaking during a visit to the concrete firm, the Minister added: "I am very encouraged that the roll-out of Axis 3 of the RDP has extended into the North West.

"One of the Rural Development Programme's greatest qualities is that it allows us to support small business creation and development.

"Such enterprises help sustain and grow rural communities and often provide a badly needed boost.

"I have seen at first hand today what the RDP grant means to a rural business, helping increase turnover and creating employment. It is great to see RDP reaching grassroots level."

The Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

(NS/GK)

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