THE Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced that £835,000 Coastal Communities Fund support has been awarded to nine projects.
Among them is Rathlin Island Co-operative who will benefit from a total of £60,502.
The projects are located along the coast of Northern Ireland, from Limavady in the north west, to Newcastle in the south east. They are projected to create a total of 55 direct jobs and 212 indirect positions, and attract £500,000 in additional investment from public and private sector sources.
The funding includes support for volunteering and employment opportunities for vulnerable persons, parents or families returning to education, the restoration of a tourist attraction, business units creating employment opportunities, and an environmental apprenticeship scheme.
In announcing the awards, Claire Vincent, Acting Director of Marine and Fisheries Division said: “I am delighted to announce this significant support towards the development of our communities along the Northern Ireland coast and which will fund a wide range of projects that have been designed and developed by local people and which will create jobs and improve lives, which is consistent with the Programme’s objective that “coastal communities will experience regeneration and economic growth.
“I congratulate all nine successful applicants in what was a very competitive and heavily subscribed Programme and would wish them every success in the delivery of their projects which will contribute to the creation of 267 jobs in our coastal communities.”
Sepaking on behalf of the Rathlin Island Co-operative, Aoife O’Broin Molloy said: “The shop was taken on on by the Rathlin Co-operative when the original owner decided to leave the island in 2010/2011.
“It was initially run entirely by volunteers but after a while this became unsustainable and two paid jobs were created, which later turned into three jobs which was fantastic.
“In 2018 the shop found itself in financial difficulty and the idea of closing the doors became all too real. “Thankfully, with fundraising, the debt was cleared and it was decided that the shop would have to diversify in order to keep it sustainable.
“2019 has been a great year for the shop and now with the Coastal Community Fund the future is looking even brighter for the community shop.
“Thanks to the funding we will not only be able to sustain the life line service we offer to the island but also help the shop grow and offer more to the island community as well as visitors to our beautiful island.”