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Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has announced the award of contracts to deliver a local rural community development support service.

The contracts will provide local support for individuals and communities to access the NI Rural Development Programme and create more sustainable businesses and jobs.

Making her announcement, the Minister said: “The award of these contracts represents an investment of £1.2million per annum in supporting local rural community development. Community Development plays an important part in my £16million programme to address rural poverty and social isolation by getting people involved in issues that affect their lives, and supporting them to identify and tackle the local issues.”

The Minister continued: “These contracts will provide local community development support for individuals and communities, including farmers and farm families, to access the Rural Development Programme to create more sustainable businesses and jobs, and support projects that will enhance the quality of life of local communities and support strong community infrastructures.”

In conclusion the Minister said: “I would encourage all those living in rural areas to take up the support available through these contracts to address anti poverty and social exclusion issues in their area.”

Contracts have been awarded to: South Antrim Rural Network – Antrim & Newtownabbey District and Mid & East Antrim District; Rural Area Partnership in Derry Ltd – Derry & Strabane District; Fermanagh Rural Community Network – Fermanagh & Omagh District; TADA Rural Support Network – Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon District; North Antrim Community Network – Causeway Coast & Glens District; Cookstown & Western Shores Area Network – Mid Ulster District; and County Down Rural Community Network – Newry, Mourne & Down District and Lisburn & Castlereagh District.

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