The Covid Recovery Small Settlements Programme is a collaboration between the Department for Communities (DfC), Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), and the Department for Infrastructure (DfI). This regeneration programme aims to address long standing issues such as rural poverty, isolation and access to services in small settlements with a population of less than 5,000 people.
At Wednesday’s committee meeting, members were advised that following submission of an application by Council, a letter of offer has been received from the lead department, DfC, awarding the total grant sum of £2,023,000, which is 90% of the overall programme value. Members approved the supply of 10% match funding from Council, totalling £224,778.
The committee heard more about the projects which will be funded through the programme, which is targeted principally at settlements with populations between 1000 – 4999 and include Newtownstewart, Castlederg, Sion Mills, Claudy, Park, and Eglinton. Councillors were also informed of proposals for a Small Village Cluster Revitalisation project in the Sperrin DEA, focusing on the smaller settlements of Plumbridge, Donemana and Ballymagorry.
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All projects will be delivered directly by Council and involve revitalisation schemes to shop fronts and public spaces, and environmental and access upgrades in local forests and parks.
Chair of Council’s Environment and Regeneration committee, Cllr Ruairí McHugh, welcomed the funding. “The Covid Recovery Small Settlements Programme funding will assist in making our rural villages more welcoming to visitors and investors as we continue our recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It will cover a range of different improvements across a number of villages, from painting and shopfront upgrades for our local businesses to the upgrading of pathways and the addition of seating, bins and signage in spaces like parks and forests – with these upgrades also contributing positively to climate change.
“I look forward to seeing each project progress and I am delighted that committee members have voted for Council to support this programme by providing 10% match funding, totalling over £220,000.”
The decision will come before Full Council for ratification at the end of March.
For details on each of the projects and to view the full committee report presented, click here.