O'Neill Celebrates LEADER Success

03 July 2014

Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle O’Neill, has celebrated the achievements of LEADER and the work of the Local Action Groups in delivering Axis 3 of the Rural Development Programme.


Minister O’Neill said, “It is great to be here today celebrating the great success of LEADER and what it has achieved for our rural communities, farm families and private businesses. With over £61m now invested we are rightly celebrating this success. The programme has managed to create 508 jobs with more to come before the end of the programme. Thanks to this funding we have much more vibrant rural communities out there and this is what LEADER is all about”.

The LEADER approach is an extremely effective mechanism for engaging all rural citizens. It can contribute to the rural development process by forming partnerships between public, private and social sectors. These partnerships or Local Action Groups as we know them are representative of farming, community, business, public and private sectors.”

Speaking about the next 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme, the Minister said, “LEADER has a guaranteed role to play and will be an integral part of the Rural Development Programme. I want to see a balanced programme and I believe strongly that our rural areas will benefit greatest from a programme that supports the collective needs of all the countryside. I want to see a vibrant and engaging LEADER programme and I am delighted to announce plans for commencing the animation process to engage with as wide but recognise for this to be successful they must fully engage with the existing infrastructure, local people and networks.”

David Kerr, Chairperson of Down Rural Area Partnership Local Action Group, reiterated, “The ethos of LEADER is all about engaging and supporting local people to identify local needs. The current LEADER Programme has demonstrated its success through support to over 1840 projects. As Local Action Group practitioners, we are immensely proud of its success.”

“As we look towards the future, we believe LEADER can deliver within the next Rural Development Programme. We urge that it is sufficiently resourced to enable all rural dwellers to benefit.”

Note to editors:
1. The Rural Development Programme (RDP) is aimed at improving the economic, social and environmental conditions in rural areas throughout the north. It brings together a range of support for rural enterprise and business development, diversification, support for rural communities and rural tourism.

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