Rural initiatives benefit from £1 million investment

25th October 2018

To date 50 rural businesses within the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area have benefited from a total investment of more than £1 million through funding distributed by Fermanagh and Omagh Local Action Group (LAG)Ltd.

The LAG is delivering Priority 6 of the NI Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 which focuses on social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas of Northern Ireland, in Fermanagh and Omagh.

The £1 million investment has supported a range of innovative rural initiatives and enterprises across the District, ranging from those involved in recycling to relaxation.

Speaking about the investment in rural communities, Councillor John Feely, Chairman of the LAG said:

“Fermanagh and Omagh Local Action Group (LAG) Ltd is committed to building a strong, vibrant and resourceful rural economy through positive intervention and by supporting rural initiatives.

The Rural Development Programme (NIRDP) 2014-2020 is building on the foundations of previous Rural Development programmes, all of which are aimed at encouraging and supporting entrepreneurial spirit in rural areas. I would like to congratulate all those businesses that have secured investment through this NIRDP and wish them well with their business enterprises.”

Birchwood Fishery in Drumquin, Co. Tyrone and RE-KKUR in Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh, are two businesses to have benefited from the £1 million investment.

Ian Sproule and his father Garney developed Birchwood Fishery with £45,000 financial assistance from the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2007-2013.

Since opening in 2013, the facility, which boasts three man-made lakes, has attracted visitors from across Europe for its peace and tranquil location together with the excellent fishing available.

With the business going from strength to strength, Ian was keen expand and saw an opportunity to provide overnight accommodation for his clients.

Ian approached the LAG with his business idea and, having secured the necessary statutory approvals and completed a business plan, Ian was successful in securing investment of just under £30,000 from the NIRDP 2014-2020.

This investment was used to develop a toilet block, shower facilities, glamping pods overlooking the fishing lakes and facilities to accommodate motorhomes and campervans.

As a direct result of the NIRDP investment Ian intends to increase his workforce. speaking about the investment, Ian said:

“Through direct investment from the Local Action Group we have been able to expand our business. This has allowed us to focus on quality and visitor satisfaction with pleasing results.”

RE-KKUR located near Lisnaskea in Co. Fermanagh is another rural business to have benefited from financial support through the LAG.

Founded in 2012 by Jake McCoy, RE-KKUR is one of Northern Ireland’s only extruded uPVC plater bead manufacturers.

Utilising post-industrial recycled uPVC, the company has become an industry leader in the design and development of high-quality building products for plastering, insulation and exterior protection.

RE-KKUR has benefited from £117,000 financial assistance through Priority 6 of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme (NIRDP) 2014-2020. This investment enabled RE-KKUR to develop new technologies at the cutting edge of the building industry and bring much needed job creation to the Fermanagh East area.

The new equipment also enabled the business to expand its operations and further develop the recycling of waste materials.

Commenting on the development of the business, Vincent McCoy, RE-KKUR, said:

“Without support from the Local Action Group we would have needed several more years to buy the equipment that is critical to our business and we would not be able to employ as many workers as we do.”

Fermanagh and Omagh Local Action Group (LAG) Ltd is one of ten LAGs responsible for delivering Priority 6 of the NIRDP 2014-2020 programme which focuses on social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas of Northern Ireland. It works in partnership with other agencies to make a positive contribution to the development of stronger rural communities through the creation of a more diverse and outward looking prosperous rural economy.

The LAG is responsible for the administration of a budget of approximately £8.3 million through the NIRDP 2014-2020 for the Fermanagh and Omagh District. The LAG is made up of 24 Members – 11 elected representatives nominated by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (FODC) and 13 social partners representing the business, community and agriculture sectors.

The LAG is currently rolling out a Rural Basic Services Scheme and in conjunction with the Council, a Village Renewal Scheme.  These Schemes which are also support through the NIRDP 2014-2020 will result in multi-million-pound investment in the District over the next two years.

The NIRDP 2014-2020 is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

For further information on NIRDP 2014-2020, please contact the LAG on 028 8225 0202.