Village gets lottery boost
A COMMUNITY group near Banbridge has been offered a Lottery grant of £50,000 to run a social enterprise that will help breathe new life into their rural area.
The money comes from the Big Lottery Fund’s Village SOS scheme, which is supporting rural communities across the UK to come together to improve facilities, services and opportunities for local people.
The Big Lottery Fund is urging other rural communities with populations of less than 3,000 across Northern Ireland to make the most of the funding scheme before it closes on September 12. Grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 are available for enterprising projects from community-run shops and pubs to energy or transport schemes, and craft or food projects. For more information visit: www.villagesos.org.uk
Tanvally and Anaghlone Project (TAP) plans to use the funding to carry out improvements to its community venue in the rural townland, just outside Banbridge, and turn it into a vital hub for local businesses and the local community. The group will renovate the kitchen and rooms in the venue so they can be rented out to small businesses, a project that will help to create jobs for local people and regenerate the rural area.
The money generated from the rent paid by the businesses will be used to look after the upkeep of the venue and will allow the group to network with other community groups so they can share their ideas and encourage them to try similar projects.
“This is an isolated rural area,” explained TAP member Mark Hillis. “Like many rural areas in South Down, this townland has been hit hard by the recession. Local companies have really struggled and most businesses are now based around agriculture.
“Our aim is to try and stimulate growth in this area and offer local rural businesses a modern venue where they are close to their clients, the rent is extremely affordable and the facilities are modern enough to suit their needs. We took over the running of this community building about ten years ago when it was in much need of modernisation, but we have since renovated it and turned it into a venue fit for local people to enjoy.
“But the venue needs to continue to grow and develop, so we are going to carry out further renovations. We will improve the kitchens so that a local catering service or social enterprise can use it for commercial business, and the rooms upstairs will be turned into office spaces where small business like a local arts and crafts company or a computer repair business can work out of. These offices will be equipped with all the essentials to facilitate day to day business activities such as high speed communications and a conference area complete with and audio visual equipment.
“In addition to this, we are part of a federation of local groups in the South Down area and we want to show other local groups that if it can be done here, they can do it too. So we’ll be also be sharing our ideas with them and encouraging them to try something new.
“This is an innovative regeneration project that will create jobs for the local community, build community spirit and ownership and help build local business back up again. It’s about doing something to help ourselves.”
Frank Hewitt, Big Lottery Fund NI Chair, said: “Village SOS is a unique opportunity to apply for funding to run community-led social enterprises. We are delighted to announce this funding offer for Tanvally and Anaghlone Project’s innovative project which is testament to the strength and creativity that exists in this rural community.
“There are only two weeks left to apply to the programme for funding and I would urge communities in the Banbridge area and across Northern Ireland to explore this unique opportunity to get funding and support to start up a community run enterprise which will revive their local area and help buck the trend of rural decline.”
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Weather for Banbridge
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North west