by NEIL GREENLEES
Rural Regeneration Programme which to date has provided �681,000
of funding to a variety of projects has been described as 'an
outstanding success story' by Northern Ireland's Rural
Development Minister Michelle Gildernew.
The Minister was
speaking during a visit to one such project, Kilwarlin Cottages
at I Hillsborough. These recently constructed units provide five
star self catering tourist accommodation.
Ms. Gildernew said
the cottages were 'a great example of rural development in
action and an impressive farm diversification project that
helped address the economic, social and tourist needs of the
She also warmly congratulated Lisburn Leader Ltd, the
organisation responsible for administering the Programme, and
its Vice-Chairman Pat McCann who was present at Kilwarlin during
"Lisburn Leader has acted as a catalyst in
developing small rural businesses. I want to take this
opportunity to thank them for all their hard work to ensure the
maximum impact of funding available," the Minister added.
McCann told those present his organisation had "successfully
administered 100% of the allocated budgets on good quality
projects from the Lisburn rural areas.
"Full advantage of
�681,000 funding for our rural economy has been achieved, and I
wish to put on record my thanks for the enthusiasm and
commitment that my fellow directors and the Council have shown
in the delivery of this funding for rural Lisburn," he said.
The fundamental aims of the Rural Lisburn Regeneration Programme
were to encourage rural business development and
diversification, promote new employment opportunities in the
rural Lisburn area, increase farm income levels and provide
training programmes for the rural community in order to enable
the uptake of development opportunities.
Over �500,000 was
invested in 16 projects across a range of different business
initiatives, including accommodation facilities, equestrian,
fisheries, workspace units, memorial gardens and a visitor
The rest of the money was used to fund an
international marketing awareness programme and training on
small business development including environmental and marketing
Ms. Gildernew said small rural businesses could "make a
significant contribution to the economy in terms of generating
wealth and creating employment.
The Minister also said the new
Rural Development Programme for 2007-2013 provided opportunities
"to build a more sustainable rural economy and improve the
quality of local life.
'I hope that rural dwellers living in
these areas will be able tout to good use the opportunities
provided by the programme," she concluded.