A BANBRIDGE pottery is all fired up after receiving a rural development grant to build a new workshop and kiln.
Mount Ida Pottery benefited from funding of more than £20,000 through the Down Rural Area Partnership (DRAP) for the project - one of over 70 to share an allocation of £13m earmarked for rural communities.
The company has been funded under one of the programme’s six themes – Diversification into a Non Agriculture Activity.
Pottery proprietor Trevor Woods said the funding would give him the opportunity to develop his business into the future.
“The funding has given me the opportunity to develop my business now rather than in five or six years down the line,” he said. “It has also enabled me to have an inspirational environment in which to be creative and to work.
“I only wish the current economic environment would become more positive, as my business is set in the craft sector which is termed as luxury products. I have been forced to think more creatively and have to develop products and services which people want”.
Commending the rural development programme, David Kerry, chair of DRAP’s Local Action Group, said, “The rural development programme is intended to impact directly and positively on rural communities, helping to encourage growth and sustainability.
“This project will allow the pottery to increase sales, increase its customer base and ultimately increase the opportunities for additional employment. This is all good for strengthening the local economy.”
To apply for rural development funding, applicants must live in a rural location in one of the four council areas of Banbridge, Ards, Down and North Down.
Rural is defined as a settlement with a population of 4,500 or fewer. Anyone who lives in an urban setting must be able to demonstrate how their project will principally benefit a rural area.
Farmers, private businesses, community groups, not-for-profit organisations and social economy enterprises, as well as individuals over the age of 18, can all take advantage of the funding opportunities.
Anyone who would like to know more should contact the Down Rural Area Partnership offices at Ards Business Centre, Sketrick House, Jubilee Road, Newtownards - tel: 028 9182 0748 or log onto www.downruralareapartnership.com.