Rural villages receive £110,000 funding boost to explore regeneration projects

Ten villages have secured funding to explore regeneration projects aimed at breathing new life into rural communities across Northern Ireland (via Department for Communities)

A key element of the scheme is to identify old buildings that could be brought back into use for the benefit of the community – historic properties in this round of funding include a former national school dating back to the 1840s, a workhouse which once housed 500 people before closing in 1916 and a fort dating back more than 400 years.

As part of the Village Catalyst Programme seven viability grants, totalling £60,000, have been allocated to projects in Co Antrim – Bushmills; Co Tyrone – Caledon, Fintona and Donaghmore; Co Londonderry – Culmore; Co Down – Cloughey and Co Armagh – Kilmore.

A further £50,000 in development grants – stage 2 in the process – has been awarded to initiatives in Clogher (Co Tyrone), Hilltown (Co Down) and Ballinderry Upper (Co Antrim).

Plans for community use by the 10 successful applicants include delivering mental health support for young people, a hub for community groups, affordable housing, a youth club, tourist facilities, training space, counselling services and childcare provision.

The Village Catalyst Programme is an innovative partnership between Department for Communities (DfC), Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) and The Housing Executive.

Funding is open to charities, social enterprise and other not for profit groups in rural villages with a population under 5,000. To be eligible the building must be listed or within a conservation area.

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