Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots visited a multi-sensory center for people with learning, physical and sensory disabilities to see how a grant of almost £ 40,000 is being invested.
Aspace2 is one of 12 Northern Ireland social enterprises that have received money from DAERA’s Rural Social Economy Investment Program, which has already invested £ 500,000.
The program aims to strengthen rural communities and the rural economy by making a positive difference in the lives of rural dwellers by providing training and employment opportunities.
“Aspace2 offers excellent training and development opportunities for adults and young people with additional needs,” said Mr. Poots.
“So I am delighted to see for myself how they are investing the almost £ 40,000 that my department has provided to help them make a positive difference in the lives of people in rural areas.
“The social enterprise sector has a significant positive impact on the economy of Northern Ireland, so it is essential that we help them grow while supporting those who live in rural areas.
“People living in rural communities face particular challenges such as reduced connectivity, poor health, lack of access to employment and substandard infrastructure.
“I am fully committed to helping these rural communities and the Rural Social Economy Investment Program is a clear demonstration of this.
“I also recently launched a public consultation on Northern Ireland’s first-ever rural policy framework which aims to create a sustainable rural community where people want to live, work and be active.
“Fully tailored to our unique circumstances, demographically and geographically, it will have stakeholders at its heart, so I encourage everyone to respond.
“I especially want people in rural areas to have their say and tell us what they think about the framework, this is vitally important work,” Poots said.
n The consultation will take place via Citizen Space until September 6.
n You can get information on DAERA webinars and register at www.daera-ni.gov.uk/consultations/rural-policy-framework-northern-ireland-consultation
n There are also a number of online webinars you can register for.