Rural business communities across the borough of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon see nearly £3 million investment and the creation of over 100 new local jobs – all thanks to the Rural Business Investment Scheme.
Part of SOAR ABC’s NI Rural Development Programme, the Rural Business Investment Scheme is led by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council. Since its launch in 2015 the scheme has awarded over £2.8 million grants to some 66 local rural businesses, helping create 114 new local jobs – exceeding their original target by 20%.
Funding a diverse range of projects, the Rural Business Investment Scheme has supported local micro-businesses, farmers, entrepreneurs and social enterprises by funding new business ideas helping generate employment opportunities and business growth across the borough.
Local business McElmeel Mobility Services Ltd. recently benefited from the Rural Business Investment Scheme – securing £90,000 for an investment in the construction of a new workshop, helping increase their capacity and productivity as well as creating four new jobs. The well-established Armagh company is the UK and Ireland’s original adaptor and converter of vehicles for disabled drivers and passengers.
“It was great to see how a local company like McElmeel Mobility Services have turned their vision into a reality thanks to funding from the Rural Business Investment Scheme. Not only helping local rural businesses grow and diversify, this funding is an essential driver for the sector’s long term and sustainable development,” commented outgoing Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Mealla Campbell.
Another recent recipient of this scheme’s funding was local Armagh company and pipe cleaning industry leaders, Glenvale Waste Ltd. Securing £70,000 of financial support, Glenvale Waste Ltd not only created 14 new local jobs – exceeding their original plan four-fold – they also enhanced their business capabilities and performance by purchasing a new drain clearance system. The multi-faceted and state-of-the-art tanker will now help Glenvale drain deeper pits and tanks more effectively and efficiently.
Support for rural communities continues through initiatives such as the Rural Basic Investment Scheme, Rural Basic Services Scheme, Village Renewal Scheme and Co-operation Projects – all part of SOAR’s NI Rural Development Programme. What’s more the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is currently working on the development of a new rural support programme, which will go out to consultation later this year.
Chair of SOAR ABC, Councillor Kyle Savage commented: “Our rural businesses undoubtedly face a very challenging working environment, visible through obstacles such as poor infrastructure, digital connectivity and growing global competition to name a few – therefore it is only right we continue to support this importance and valuable business sector.”
Covering the borough of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, SOAR ABC implements the NI Rural Development Programme for local rural businesses, community organisations and authorities to develop projects that stimulate job creation, enable businesses to diversify and ensure much needed services are delivered locally.