Poots Visits Saintfield Groups Who Received Micro Grants

Rural Micro Capital Grant scheme reaches £5million milestone says Poots

Rural Micro Capital Grant scheme reaches £5million milestone says Poots

On a visit to Saintfield to see first-hand the benefits of the Rural Micro Capital Grants Scheme at Saintfield Community Trust and Saintfield Rural Development Association, Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots MLA announced that the Scheme had passed £5million total allocated.

Minister Edwin Poots, second left, pictured visiting Saintfield Community Centre with Saintfield Community Trust members (l-r) Lawrence Murphy, Brian Gamble, Barbara Graham, Trust Chair, Ian Mack and Saintfield Community Centre Manager Anna Walker, where he viewed facilities and was updated on plans for the centre and the Windmill Park project.

Minister Poots said: “The key aim of the Rural Micro Capital Grants Scheme is to provide small capital grants to rural community/voluntary led organisations for projects tackling issues of local poverty and/or social isolation.

“Thanks to our investment of over £5million, since 2016 almost 4,400 projects have been successfully completed. The very tangible importance these micro grants brings to rural life and rural dwellers across Northern Ireland cannot be stressed enough.”

Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots MLA, centre, pictured with Joan Agnew, James Morrow, Irene and David Craig from Saintfield Rural Development Association.

The Scheme is funded from DAERA’s Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme and focuses on three key themes identified as contributory factors to poverty and social isolation: Modernisation (of existing premises / assets); Information and Communications Technology; and Improvements to health and wellbeing.

“Also, in the context of COVID-19 recovery, support has been available to assist rural organisations to reopen and recover.”

The Minister added: “Projects like these I’ve visited at Saintfield Community Trust and at Saintfield Rural Development Association provide tremendous benefits to local rural community and voluntary groups.

“I’ve witnessed, at both groups, wonderful people displaying a togetherness and a community spirit fostered by the projects supported through my Department’s Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme.

“So many worthy organisations who provide vital services in rural communities everyday have benefited from the scheme and I am very proud that my department could help.”

Minister Edwin Poots (left) with Barbara Graham and Lawrence Murphy.

The visit by Minister Edwin Poots followed a grant of just over £1200 awarded from the County Down Rural Community Network (CDRCN) on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). The grant was successfully applied for by Lawrence Murphy in 2021, a trustee of the community centre and chair of the Saintfield Development Association Green Team.

Barbara Graham, Chair of the Saintfield Community Trust, said: “The grant is to fund the purchase and installation of 45 sleepers for three raised beds in the proposed community garden, due to be constructed within the community centre grounds. It will provide a green space in Saintfield and an area where people can relax and socialise and get in touch with nature and appreciate the outdoors and we are looking for this project to go ahead.”

Barbara Graham said that the Saintfield Community Trust manages the Saintfield Community Centre,and we conducted the Minister around the centre complex and explained the development and plans for the centre.