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Success Of Mid And East Antrim's Local Action Group Celebrated

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Mid and East Antrim's Local Action Group (MEA LAG) has been praised for its success supporting rural development during a recent event.

Under the LEADER Rural Development Programme, approximately £4.6million has been invested into projects that support rural businesses, communities and villages, creating 70 jobs.

The programme supported 42 businesses under the Rural Business Investment Scheme with almost £1.5 million being awarded to complete a diverse range of projects.

Under the Village Renewal Scheme 18 villages in the borough benefitted from £2.55 million to complete 22 projects. This included new playparks, community hubs, halls, outdoor spaces, gardens and much more.

The Mid and East Antrim Local Action Group is funded under Priority 6 (LEADER) of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and the European Union.

The Basic Services Scheme funded seven projects with funding of over £330k to establish central hubs to be used in bringing the local community together.

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Lastly the Co-operation Scheme received a total funding of £246k to enable the completion of four projects. This included new walking trails in Broughshane and Drum wood. These projects will enhance the access to our countryside for the local community and for visitors to our borough.

With the Rural Development Programme now ended, LAG members met for their final Board meeting to celebrate its successful completion and reflect on its achievements.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Councillor William McCaughey said: "It has been my pleasure to personally acknowledge and congratulate the members of Mid and East Antrim's Local Action Group. All 23 members should be rightly proud of their achievements. Social Partners from business, farming and community sectors have given countless voluntary hours over the years working alongside 11 elected members. Their delivery of the LEADER programme has brought significant benefits to our rural dwellers and communities across the Borough.

"I thank them all and hope that our rural communities will continue to benefit from their expertise in the future."

MEA LAG Chair, Kelli McRoberts added: "£4.6 million of funding from DAERA, has been utilised in helping us grow the local economy in a sustainable manner. To date 70 jobs have been created. The funding has enabled us to improve a range of services and infrastructure, creating vibrant rural communities and working in partnership with neighbouring Councils and cross border partners in Waterford.

"I want to congratulate my fellow Board members for their time and commitment over the years, not just for this programme, some of us have served with former LAGs. We are all immensely proud of what has been achieved and of the LAG's lasting legacy in our rural communities."

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