Minister encourages groups to seek rural funding

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is urging eligible organizations in Northern Ireland to apply for the new €50 million Rural Regeneration and Social Inclusion investment area, part of the PEACEPLUS program.

The Rural Regeneration and Social Inclusion Programme aims to promote a more unified society by increasing the availability of shared spaces and services in rural areas. This strategic investment is intended to help rural communities thrive and realize their full economic, social, and environmental potential.

Commenting on the launch of the scheme, NI Agriculture Minister Andrew Muir emphasized the focus on social, economic, and environmental projects that contribute to the development of healthy and inclusive rural communities. The program will support rural community development, sustainable regeneration, and social inclusion through improved access to essential services, the development of social enterprises, creation of green infrastructure for improved health and well-being, and the promotion of rural and tourism enterprise to encourage interaction between diverse rural communities.

The collaboration between DAERA, the Department of Rural and Community Development in the Republic of Ireland, and the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) in providing funding for this initiative under the PEACEPLUS program is aimed at creating resilient, vibrant, and prosperous rural communities where people are eager to live, work, visit, and invest.

Under the PEACEPLUS program, which is a new EU funding initiative for the 2021-2027 period, DAERA manages five PEACEPLUS Investment Areas. Two of these areas focus specifically on rural development, including the Smart Towns and Villages Programme (IA 2.4). The deadline for applications is 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 23, 2024.

Overall, the PEACEPLUS program will see an investment of €1.14 billion to support peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland. The SEUPB is responsible for managing EU funding programs in this region to promote peace and prosperity.

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