19 April 2014

Livery Yard Saddles Up After Rural Development Grant


An equine business is saddling up after receiving a rural development grant to turn old buildings into a livery yard.

Craigantlet Livery Yard benefited from funding of almost £50,000 through the Down Rural Area Partnership (DRAP) to renovate unused farm buildings and establish a livery yard with provision for up to 25 horses, as well as a sand school, riding trails and associated access and parking.

The project is one of over 70 across the four council areas of Banbridge, Ards, Down and North Down which are benefiting from the £13M which has been allocated to improve rural communities until 2013.

The company has received funding under one of the programme’s six themes –Diversification into a non Agricultural Activity – and Jim Torney, Blakiston Houston Estates, said:

“We are very pleased to have welcomed DRAP personnel at our new livery unit. The grant aid offered by DRAP to farmers diversifying their business is a good help to maintain the business and employment in the rural areas,” he said.

“Changing how rural buildings are used traditionally or making use of those which have fallen into disrepair is a very effective way of diversifying a business or stimulating the rural economy. This project is not only transforming a previously defunct property, but generating visitors and increasing opportunities for additional employment,” said Councillor Jim Fletcher, Chair of the Joint Council Committee, Down Rural Area Partnership.

To apply for rural development funding you must live in a rural location in one of the four Council areas – rural is defined as a settlement with a population of 4,500 or less - or if you live in an urban setting, you must be able to demonstrate that your 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.

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