Northern Ireland Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Edwin Poots has praised rural communities for using the £7.5million rural development fund to benefit people with through the generations.

Minister Poots visited several communities and their projects in County Fermanagh and Tyrone funded under the Northern Ireland Rural Development Scheme, including village renewal, rural business and basic service projects.

The Fermanagh and Omagh Local Action Group (FOLAG) has received a budget of £7.5 million from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to implement the scheme.

Minister Poots visited the new Sunshine Center in Magheraveely, Co. Fermanagh, where the Magheraveely Community and Development Association (MCDA) has received almost £69,000 to support the redevelopment of the former civic amenity site.

The site is now a community center, a place for meetings, workshops and other activities.

Minister Poots said it was fantastic to see how the whole community is benefiting from the funding:

“These investments will create jobs and provide improved community facilities and services for young and old in counties Fermanagh and Omagh.

During his visit, Minister Poots also witnessed improvements in the village of Trillick. Having received almost £44,000 from the fund, the money was earmarked for a project with a total cost of £58,000.

The project included the construction of a three-stone sculpture as an entrance feature to the village and the improvement of the pathway between the recreation center and Woodview Crescent.

Revitalization initiatives, which included new planters, a notice board, benches and bins and the installation of a tractor sculpture in the main street, were also part of the project.

The Minister also saw how specialist construction and civil engineering company Alexander Plant Ltd. received almost £52,000, which was used to cover project costs of £104,000 to help buy equipment for maintain and maintain all of their on-site plant and equipment.

The Minister of Agriculture thanked everyone involved for their hard work in delivering projects for their local communities.