CONNECTING RURAL DEVELOPMENT
15 March 2010
Rural programme delivery and policy makers from across the UK gathered in Belfast on Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th March 2010 for the first UK National Rural Network (UK NRN) Conference to address rural development in practice and to share learning in delivering the current round of Rural Development Programmes.
Among those addressing the conference Martin McDonald, Chief Executive of the RDC and managing agent of the Rural Network for Northern Ireland said, “The conference was successful in bringing together the key delivery agents and policy makers of the four Rural Development Programmes operating across the UK. It was also attended by Ireland and European Networks and provided much needed networking for those engaged in the delivery of rural development programmes. The 4 Rural Development Programmes of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are worth in excess of £6.7 billion to the UK rural economy between now and 2013. The Northern Ireland pot alone is worth in excess of £500 million. In a time of economic instability, uncertainty and change these programmes offer an opportunity for rural dwellers who may wish to pursue on or off farm development and diversification, business creation, tourism and regeneration activities, to access grant aid, assistance and advice. The conference demonstrated that everyone involved in the delivery of the programmes are fully committed to contributing positively to achieving the progress needed to secure the future of a vibrant, sustainable rural countryside for generations to come.”