Carrickfergus Borough Council - GROW first for funding

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GROW first for funding.

17 September 2009

GROW South Antrim celebrated becoming the first group to award funding for farm diversification and business creation and development under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2007-2013 with a visit from Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA.




GROW first for Funding in Northern Ireland

GROW South Antrim celebrated becoming the first group to award funding for farm diversification and business creation and development under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2007-2013 with a visit from Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA.  GROW has now awarded over 425,000 to 17 farmers and rural businesses across Antrim, Carrickfergus and Newtownabbey Borough Councils, which will lead to a total investment of almost 1million in the area.

During a visit to Tardree Stone, Co Antrim, Minister Gildernew presented letters of offer to David and Andrew McConkey, Tardree Stone, Antrim; Sam Bell, Sound Acoustic Management, Whitehead; and Stephen Herron and Colin Todd of, The Soccer Shed, outside Ballyclare.

Congratulating the successful applicants Minister Gildernew stated: “Since its launch, the enthusiasm and interest that has been shown for the Rural Development Programme has been tremendous. Presenting individuals with funding offers is what the programme is all about and it gives me a great sense of pride to see what we are achieving across the RDP.”

After a tour of the business the Minister said: “I am impressed to hear how David plans to use this financial support through the RDP to expand his diversification project particularly at this time when the economic conditions do not easily lend themselves to business expansion.

“It is to the local councils’ credit that they have made such good progress to ensure that rural communities could access funding as soon as possible. Funding initiatives such as the RDP can help rural businesses tackle some of the challenges faced by local businesses in the current economic climate.”

Cllr Janet Crilly, Chair of the GROW Joint Council Committee, congratulated those who had been awarded the first Letters of Offer: "GROW is delighted to be the first group in Northern Ireland to award funding to projects on the ground.” 

She said: "Despite the challenging economic times, we have been impressed in the innovative approach business owners and farmers are taking to provide employment and contribute to the sustainability of rural communities."

Local Action Group Vice-Chair, Brian Duffin, commented: "It is encouraging to see that in the tough climate, farmers and rural businesses are adapting and being forward thinking. As the first projects in Northern Ireland to benefit from this funding, we look forward to seeing them put their ideas into action."

Could you benefit from funding under the Rural Development Programme? 

GROW will re-open for applications under the Farm Diversification and Business Creation & Development themes on Monday, 19th October and close at 4pm on Monday, 16th November.  If you are a farmer interested in diversifying or a rural business owner who wants to expand or develop, there may be support available to help you. 

Funding of up to 50,000 will be available to set-up new businesses or expand small businesses with less than 10 employees and also to help farmers diversify into non-agricultural activities.  To be eligible for funding, projects must be based in a rural area of Antrim, Carrickfergus or Newtownabbey Borough Councils. 

To find out more about the Rural Development Programme, visit the GROW website or to talk through a project idea or request an Expression of Interest form, contact Emma or Sara in the GROW office on 028 9448 1311.

GROW South Antrim has been set up to manage and deliver funding under the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2007 – 2013 across rural South Antrim.  The Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme is operating across all of rural Northern Ireland, and further details on the programme are available at

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.




Date of Release: Thursday, 17th September 2009

For further information contact:

Sara Campbell, Funding Services Manager

GROW South Antrim

T: 028 9446 3113 Ext 1042

Editor’s Notes

GROW has been allocated a total budget of 8,890,899 to invest in rural South Antrim across a wide range of projects including farm diversification, business creation, tourism, basic services, village renewal, conservation and upgrading the rural heritage.



For further information please contact:

Sara Campbell, Funding Services Manager
Telephone: T: 028 9446 3113 Ext 1042