1 DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY FOR AXIS 3 NORTHERN IRELAND RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME REVISED MARCH 2009
2 1 DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 1.1 Strategic Vision GROW South Antrim will use Axis 3 of the EU Rural Development Programme to build and enhance the cluster area through a range of interventions which promote and facilitate the growth of the farming, micro enterprise, rural heritage and tourism sectors in rural parts of South Antrim. At the same time, priority will be given to engaging with the local community to boost and improve both basic services and village life to the benefit of all, with a particular focus on benefiting minority groupings in the area. The vision which GROW South Antrim centres around positions South Antrim as a vibrant, prosperous and inclusive region whose roots are locally grown but whose focus is, at the same time, outward looking and expansive. 1.2 Description of proposed strategy The GROW South Antrim Strategy is based on the following aims and objectives across the six themes. These are summarised below and are developed further in the following pages.
3 MEASURE 1 / SUPPORT FOR FARM DIVERSIFICATION Budget: 1,400,000 PROPOSED INTERVENTIONS Aim Objectives Rationale and Project details No of beneficiaries Projected spend 1.1 To improve the Capital infrastructure for those interested in investing in new diversification projects by offering a capital grant scheme to farmers To support up to 70 farmers / farm families to establish farm diversification projects 45 of these will be new diversification projects and 25 will be farm based businesses which are already trading. 13 of these should be either driven by women/young people focused) and offer them a 50% grant to invest in new machinery, equipment or building renovations in order to facilitate diversification into non agricultural activities required to start/ improve their business. The rationale behind this programme is to kick start entrepreneurial activity in the South Antrim area with regard to capital investment. In order to address section 75 issues there will be a focus on women/young people, where 13 of the 45 new start businesses should be driven by this cohort of the population. Without this many agricultural diversification projects will not start. This would include perhaps developing childcare or eldercare businesses in the area. A programme to provide farmers with financial 50% to invest in new machinery, equipment or building renovations in order to facilitate diversification into non agricultural activities. [To include provision for investment in renewable energy technologies/ energy reduction techniques] 45 new start diversification businesses. Up to 13 of the 45 being women or youth driven 25 farm-based businesses which are already trading. Maximum grant: 50,000 / average grant of 20,000 1,400,000 An additional leverage of 1.4 million would be invested by either private individuals or social enterprises. Assumes: 70 private sector - 1,400,000 Total projected spend [EXCLUDING leverage from other sources] 1,400,000 Projected outputs Job creation Based on the experiences of REAP South Antrim Ltd, it is projected that 25,450 investment [though either / both capital / skills development] typically leads to the creation of one new job This is significantly lower than DARD strategy guidelines of 50,000 per job which illustrates good value for money. Displacement will be assessed in the application process to ensure that this does not happen and will be supported through the support offered through the programme 1,400,000 / 25,450 = 55 new full time equivalent jobs This gives a programme cost per job of 25,450
4 Beneficiaries 70 farmers / farm families to benefit from capital projects. Of these, it is anticipated that: 75% will be male beneficiaries and 25% will be female beneficiaries. 20% of beneficiaries will be under 25 years of age, 75% will be between and 5% will be older than 65 years of age. Geographical targets across the three areas will be broadly based on the rural population of each area Total leverage for this Measure 1.4 million of which: 1.4 million will come from the private sector.
5 MEASURE 2 / SUPPORT FOR CREATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF MICRO ENTERPRISES Proposed allocation of budget: 1,855,000 PROPOSED INTERVENTIONS Aims Objectives Rationale and Project details No of beneficiaries Projected spend GROW South Antrim feel that one-to-one mentoring and advice should be available to both micro-business owners and community organisations through the Rural Development Programme as part of its programme of work. This so called soft support will help to ensure that any capital grants allocated by GROW are invested wisely by helping clients to manage the funds appropriately and by facilitating management skills development. For example, developing selling skills for owner-managers to help market their new product/service or identifying strategies for community organisations to become more sustainable. Programmes can include group base training, individual bespoke training and coaching and mentoring programmes. GROW also feels that support should be made available to clients at little or no cost, particularly given the current economic climate. GROW s experience as well as the bottom up approach and consultations that we have carried out during the course of the planning process have highlighted the positive impacts of group based programmes in terms of: Practical skills development and capability building on the part of micro enterprise owner-managers. The networking opportunities arising. peer learning how other owner managers have for example addressed constraints to growth. Value for Money. GROW recognise the chronic shortage of practical micro enterprise programmes which very small rurally based business can access in reality. Furthermore, REAP South Antrim delivered 4 training & mentoring programmes through the LEADER+ Programme, and feedback on these has been excellent, with many companies commenting on the benefits they had in planning for the future, moving the business forward and building confidence to expand and employ staff. These programmes complemented the capital grants programme helping to ensure that funds were being used in the best possible way and helping to consolidate the businesses and look at long term survival strategies. The group training also provided an excellent opportunity for networking. We therefore see the provision of these micro enterprise programmes as being central to the growth of the micro enterprise sector in South Antrim, including the private sector and social economy sector, especially in the light of the current economic climate facing micro enterprises in Northern Ireland.
6 2.1 To provide a suite of practical and results-orientated group-based programmes which seek to provide micro enterprise owner managers with the skills and the confidence to address constraints to growth and to face up to the realities of an adverse economic climate both in NI and further afield. To offer one-to-one mentoring to micro businesses and social economy organisations To be determined Management skills development 400, % RDP 2.2 To improve the Capital infrastructure for those interested in investing in new micro enterprise projects by offering a capital grant scheme to entrepreneurs To support up to 97 entrepreneurs to establish / grow new micro enterprise businesses (72 of which would be already trading) and 10 of which are driven by young people or women and offer them a 50% grant to invest in new machinery, equipment or building renovations in order to facilitate survival, consolidation and growth. We assume that 25% of those businesses would be developed by social enterprises. The rationale behind this programme is to kick start entrepreneurial activity in the South Antrim area with regard to the need for capital investment and how to spend it effectively for the growth of the micro business sector. Without this many enterprises will not start. Again with the credit crunch many budding entrepreneurs are holding on to excess cash and not investing it in what could be viable businesses. The importance of solid business plans with realistic and excellent market need will be crucial to assisting these business people to take the decision to invest in their businesses. A programme to provide rural micro enterprises with financial 50% to invest in new machinery, equipment or building renovations. [To include provision for investment in renewable energy technologies/ energy reduction techniques]. Some 25% of these businesses could be social enterprises. The craft sector would be one particular that could be promoted in this element of the strategy. 97 projects with a maximum grant of 50,000 per project. Average grant of 15,000 per business. 50% funding for private micro enterprise investors [77 in total] and 75% funding for social enterprises [20 in total]. 1,455,000 Leverage of million. Assumes: million comes from private sector. 100,000 comes from social enterprises. Total projected spend [EXCLUDING leverage from other sources] 1,855,000 Projected outputs Job creation Based on the experiences of REAP South Antrim Ltd, it is projected that 23,000 of investment [though either / both capital / skills development] typically leads to the creation of one new job. DARD strategy guidelines give a grant cost per new job of 28,572 for the micro business programme which given our cost per job target figure this strategy is good value for money million / 23,000 = 80 new full time equivalent positions This gives a programme cost per job of 23,000.
7 Beneficiaries owner-managers / would-be entrepreneurs / social economy enterprises to benefit from the skills development / capacity building programmes. 97 owner-managers to benefit from capital project support. Of these, it is anticipated that: 75% will be male beneficiaries and 25% will be female beneficiaries. 20% of beneficiaries will be under 25 years of age, 75% will be between and 5% will be older than 65 years of age. Geographical targets across the three areas will be broadly based on the rural population of each area 25% of the beneficiaries will be social economy businesses. Total leverage for this Measure million. Of this,: 1,155,000 will come from the private sector. 100,000 will come from the social enterprise sector.
8 MEASURE 3 & 6 / SUPPORT FOR RURAL TOURISM AND RURAL HERITAGE Proposed allocation of budget: 1,517,000 [Combined for the 2 Measures] PROPOSED INTERVENTIONS Aims Objectives Rationale and Project details No of beneficiaries Projected spend Whilst the South Antrim cluster area has a wealth of tourism-related attractions and facilities, it is recognised that the tourism product as a whole is weak in this region because of the traditional absence of a coordinated approach to marketing the region both to visitors from other parts of Northern Ireland and to visitors from outside the Province. One of the key tourism-related challenges for South Antrim is how the cluster area can tap into the tourism market that currently centre around Belfast. This measure will compliment NITB winning themes of short breaks, excellent events, business tourism, activity tourism, culture and heritage tourism. 3.1 To develop the iconic iconic tourism infrastructure of the South Antrim area through financial support so that it can avail of the high day tripper tourist potential from Belfast and the overnight tourists as well from home and abroad especially those en route to the glens or from the port and airport To offer financial support for four iconic projects to draw in visitors to South Antrim based on a number of potential themes water; eco tourism and activity tourism Open call The rationale behind this is that the South Antrim area needs a few more larger iconic projects that would attract the day tripper out of Belfast and the overseas or tourist or business person who wants to spend time in its area. It has a number of high quality 4 star hotels in its area but few iconic projects to draw people to its rural area. Thus the need for this element of the strategy. These projects must make an impact in the area, must be attractive to a significant amount of people and need to be marketed in an integrated manner with the other elements of the tourism strategy. These projects could cover the following themes: Theme based village development; Water based recreation and tourism (Lough Neagh, Belfast Lough, rivers, lakes and coastal); Eco-tourism; Activity tourism. Average grant, 200k. Maximum grant available per project: 250K 75 % for those from social enterprises/ NDPBs 812,970 Leverage 270,990 Assumes: 3 projects via Councils ,242 1 project via social enterprise sector - 67,748
9 3.2 To develop the tourism and heritage infrastructure of the South Antrim area so that it can avail of the high day tripper tourist potential from Belfast and the overnight tourists as well from home and abroad especially those en route to the glens or from the port and airport To offer financial support for the development of rural tourism / heritage-related infrastructure in South Antrim to at least 28 projects with an average grant of approximately 10,000 (maximum 50,000) Open call One of the main assets of the South Antrim area is the myriad of gardens, grand houses and other built heritage assets, many of which are privately owned, unspoilt and underdeveloped for a number of reasons that exist in the area. This programme aims to entice those in possession of these assets to consider opening these up for the greater enjoyment of the local and tourist population. This is a huge and very unique asset and could possibly be a niche area for future development in the high end wedding or corporate catering sector as well as being attractive to tourists. It has many natural heritage assets as well in the form of old bawns, souteraines etc which could be exploited as part of this strategy. The area has many high quality four and three star hotels but does not have enough high quality B&B, caravan parks, or self catering establishments. In the rural area the LAG wishes to develop these across the area so that tourists can enjoy the other elements of the tourism product trails, walks etc. Without accommodation located along these trails then these other assets will not be exploited properly. The LAG wishes to promote the area as a high quality experience in a medium to high end market. This means investing in high quality accommodation and interpretative activities and initiatives. It is located on the edge of Belfast and has access to the Lough. It shares approx 30 miles of Lough Neagh which is a huge asset in the area which it wishes to exploit as part of the strategy. This will among other things be achieved through the cooperation projects ,000 average per project Maximum grant 50,000 per project 75 % for those from social enterprises 50% to private individuals 75% for those from Councils 288,470 Leverage 168,469 Assumes: 8 projects via social enterprises / - 26, projects via private sector - 108, projects via Councils - 33,333 These projects may include: Gourmet food festivals. Self catering accommodation Caravans parks Coffee shops / restaurants to a Taste of Ulster standard. Open gardens.
10 3.3 To develop the heritage trail infrastructure of the South Antrim area so that it can avail of the high day tripper tourist potential from Belfast and the overnight tourists as well from home and abroad especially those en route to the glens or from the port and airport To offer financial support for the development of strategically linked and identified heritage trails in the South Antrim area and support 25 of these at an average grant of 10,000 per project Open call Another of the main assets of the South Antrim area is the unique cultural heritage that exists in the area. This gives the area a very unique flavour, and one when mixed with its fabulous built heritage, makes it a unique location for visitors to explore and enjoy. It has many opportunities for the development of trails based on a range of different water and land based assets alongside the cultural aspects of its area which add that spice which many tourists long for when visiting local rural areas. This programme is about developing these aspects of the cultural heritage product and supporting those in either the social enterprise, voluntary or private sectors to develop them in a businesslike manner. The key to the success of all of this is joined up thinking, marketing and promotion. Themes here could include: Ulster Scots/ Irish language and ethnic minorities. Family history and genealogy. Industrial heritage. Young people festivals and events. Music and art. Writers/Poets Rural crafts Food and drink. 25 events / attractions/ 10,000 each. 75% funding to SE/ NDPB & 50% to Private investors 248,120 Leverage 136,039 Assumes: 8 projects via social enterprises / - 26,666 8 projects via private sector 80,000 9 projects via Councils - 29, To develop a detailed marketing programme for the tourism and heritage programme. To develop and deliver a marketing programme within the South Antrim area aimed in particular at the Belfast day tripper market over a four year period One of the problems with the development of any programme is the need to get people excited and interested in it. The priority will therefore be to highlight to tourism / rural heritage providers in South Antrim the commercial benefits of participation on such a programme. The programme will seek to build the commercial / marketing skills of participants, with particular emphasis on clustering activities. At least 30 projects supported total grant available - average total spend of 5,000 per project Normal maximum grant 5, ,440 Leverage: 89,146 Assumes: 10 projects via social enterprises / - 16,666 Strategic bodies and local councils can apply for funding up to 200, % funding to SE/ NDPB & 50% to Private investors 10 projects via private sector - 50, projects via Councils - 22,480
11 Total projected spend [EXCLUDING leverage from other sources] Projected outputs Job creation Target jobs 8 Beneficiaries Promoters of: 4 iconic projects. 28 rural tourism infrastructure projects. 25 heritage projects. 30 marketing projects The entire service sector in South Antrim retail outlets, restaurants, pubs etc. The wider community in South Antrim More specific marketing of South Antrim Of these, it is anticipated that: 75% will be male beneficiaries and 25% will be female beneficiaries. 20% of beneficiaries will be under 25 years of age, 75% will be between and 5% will be older than 65 years of age. Geographical targets across the three areas will be broadly based on the rural population of each area Total leverage for these Measures 644,644 total of which: 238,470 will come from private sector. 137,746 will come from councils 288,428 will come from social enterprises
12 MEASURE 4 / SUPPORT FOR VILLAGE RENEWAL Proposed allocation of budget: 1,260,000 PROPOSED INTERVENTIONS Aims Objectives Project details No of beneficiaries Projected spend 4.1 To support villages and other smaller rural settlements in the rural South Antrim area to create a vision and integrated plan for the development of their villages over the next 5 year period. To support approximately 12 villages and other small rural settlements in the rural South Antrim area to create a vision and integrated plan for the development of their villages over the next 5-10 year period which encompass tourism and heritage opportunities, service enhancements and better living environments for all. This programme aims to enhance the role of the village as a centre of excellence and sustainable community service provision. It will aim to create a range of integrated plans that encompass all aspects of an areas quality of life and should be developed in full consultation and engagement of the local community plus their statutory and private sector associates. It is envisaged that these plans if commissioned as a unit would ultimately create much better value for money for the LAG and this is what it would prefer to do. This would also ensure a more integrated and comprehensive approach to the entire process of village development. An invitation to up to 12 villages or hamlets would be issued in order to create a vision / plan which should include heritage tourism activities and integrated service activity linked to three of the other themes. The quality of the living environment deprivation domain would be one way in which these villages would be chosen as well as good initial ideas on why they should be chosen. An integrated and cross sectoral application would be welcomed. Where a village already has a master plan then they can go to the next stage immediately. Approximately 12 villages/hamlets in rural South up to 15,000 per project with 500 being used as a collective engagement contract to seek their buy in to the entire programme and agree the villages that should be in. 100% RDP funded 180,000 A proportion of the budget per area would be ring fenced for a more detailed consultation with the rural villages on who should or could be part of the programme, why so that this element is a truly bottom up piece of work. Given the apathy in the area it will need a more targeted piece of engagement in order to get buy in to this element of the programme. 4.2 To commission economic appraisals for each of the village renewal projects outlined in 4.1 above. To assess the economic viability of each of the 12 proposed economic renewal projects. These economic appraisal for the 12 proposed village renewal projects will be put out to tender to ensure economic viability and Value for Money. Each of the project promoters as well as the proposed funders. 5,000 per economic appraisal. Not applicable costs of these appraisals will be covered in the administrative budget. 4.2 To improve the To financially support In order to make these villages more attractive and better places to work, live Up to 1,080,000 to be 1,080,000 for
13 village infrastructure of 12 villages making them a better place in which to live, work and play approximately 12 village enhancement projects for implementation of their village action plans and play, it is the aim of this programme to offer a range of small capital grants to these villages to lug gaps and enhance their visual attraction. This will also have a knock on effect in that tourist arriving in these villages will also have the opportunity to avail of a much more pleasant environment. The community development driver for both of these programmes will be crucial. Following direct telephone consultation with SARN the local Rural Support Network, funded by DARD, a significant amount of capacity building will be required in order to make these happen and the capital build elements happen on the ground. This is due to the general apathy in the area and the weaker community infrastructure that has been evidenced through detailed consultations with SARN and CFNI and which is evident in the CENI document (we have not been allowed to quote this directly but have been given this evidence from SARN. Given the weak infrastructure of the area, it is anticipated that 5% of the budget for this element would be offered to the community groups to assist them, in a transparent and objective manner to develop their capital programmes. This is all about public realm and as such is likely to be delivered by social enterprises or councils. Some of it may however be privately focused. Implementation costs relating to building upgrading, landscaping, signage etc. capacity building/ technical assistance of 5% included in it. Also support in the development of new community organisations [village renewal groups], where these do not exist.. This would be a part of the 5% cost. made available to across the approximate 12 projects in South Antrim depending on size and needs and plan. This would 150,000 64,000 50,000 28,000 Of the 12 projects anticipated, it is envisaged that one will be to a private 50,000 and the remaining 11 would be driven by SE 75% funding. 5% of the 1,080,000 would be allocated to capacity building 54,000 for the groups. This would be contracted out and would be 100% RDP funded village enhancement projects Leverage 375,330 Of the 12 projects envisaged total spend of 1,026,000, it is projected that: 5 will be via councils - 147,878 6 will be via social enterprises - 177,455 1 will be via private enterprise - 50,000 Total projected spend [EXCLUDING leverage from other sources] 1,260,000 Projected outputs Job creation 2 jobs created
14 Beneficiaries Promoters of: Approximately 12 village renewal schemes. The wider community in South Antrim Of these, it is anticipated that: 75% will be male beneficiaries and 25% will be female beneficiaries. 20% of beneficiaries will be under 25 years of age, 75% will be between and 5% will be older than 65 years of age. Geographical targets across the three areas will be broadly based on the rural population of each area Total leverage 375,330 in total of which: 147,878 will come from councils 177,455 will come from social enterprises 50,000 will come from private enterprise
15 MEASURE 5 / SUPPORT FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF BASIC SERVICES Proposed allocation of budget: 1,016,000 PROPOSED INTERVENTIONS Aims Objectives Project details No of beneficiaries Projected spend We are fully aware of the fact that several of the government departments [Health, DCAL, DRD etc] already provide a wide range of services relating to the provision of basic services in South Antrim. Having said that, our consultations with a massive cross-section of the community in South Antrim during the strategy development process highlighted the fact that demand massively exceed supply in relation to accessing these basic services on a day to day basis. We therefore consider that a key strand of the strategy should incorporate the provision of complementary and supplementary services which would, it is envisaged, alleviate the problems of the general public being able to access and benefit from basic services. One key area for example relates to the provision of mental health services. 5.1 To enhance the service infrastructure of the rural parts of South Antrim in an attempt to make services more accessible and thus improve the quality of life of those who live there To develop up to 20 interventions linked to service gap issues across the South Antrim area as identified by local community / voluntary organisation and by the statutory sector. This will only apply to initiatives that would not be supported from elsewhere and who need a kick start. Public call for applications A number of gap areas have been identified in the South Antrim area through the recent CENI report. This has identified specific gaps in the following areas: mental health and well being; leisure and recreation; childcare/ eldercare; community transport; renewable energy and community well being. These all contribute to the quality of life in the area and without these basis services many rural people feel isolated. This theme aims to enhance the quality of life of people in these rural areas by improving the services on offer and developing many of these though sustainable social enterprises. This element of the strategy ideally should be undertaken in a partnership between the statutory and voluntary sector but driven by the SE sector in an attempt to create longer term sustainability and buy in from communities. In kind support can be given if developed by the SE sector. Ideally Service Level Agreements for these projects should be sought in the longer term. This element of the programme requires a community development and bottom up approach. Much that emanates from the village enhancement schemes and the visions for the villages in the South Antrim area will identity these service gaps. An element of capacity building will therefore be required in order to make this element of the programme work as well. Once again, as this capacity building is part of the project development and delivery we are assuming in the costs that at least 7.5% of the total budget will be located to this element as part of its development and delivery. At least 20 projects will be developed and better services delivered in the rural areas. Average funding of 50,080. Maximum funding of 250,000 for social economy enterprises and Councils. 12 projects to be delivered via social enterprise sector. 8 projects to be delivered via Councils. Budget: 1,016, projects Leverage 338,666 Assumes: 12 projects to be delivered via social enterprise sector - 203,200 8 project to be delivered via Councils - 135,466 15
16 A review of what others are doing from a statutory perspective was undertaken which illustrates that there are a number of service gaps in the area, many of which are listed below. Key areas of focus could include: Creation and /or enhancement of services to improve mental health and reduce the level of suicide in rural South Antrim, especially among farm families. Creation and /or enhancement of leisure and recreational facilities in rural South Antrim. Redevelopment of derelict / run-down buildings for use as crèches / internet cafes etc in rural areas or as building where integrated services for older people could be delivered. Creation and /or enhancement of rural community transport in South Antrim and ensuring that it is accessible to those with a disability. Improved coordination of services between different community organisations and networks in South Antrim. Development of renewal energy solutions to ease fuel poverty in the area. Reinstatement of townland signage. Services for older people Services for people with learning disability Youth facilities and facilities for older people Total projected spend [EXCLUDING leverage from other sources] 1,016,000 16
17 Projected outputs Job creation 1 job created Beneficiaries The wider community in South Antrim 20 projects with beneficiaries of each. Of these, it is anticipated that: 75% will be male beneficiaries and 25% will be female beneficiaries. 20% of beneficiaries will be under 25 years of age, 75% will be between and 5% will be older than 65 years of age. Geographical targets across the three areas will be broadly based on the rural population of each area Total leverage 338,666 in total of which: 135,466 will come from councils 203,200 will come from social enterprises Leverage As is shown in the finance section of this strategy document, total project spend equates to million [excluding cooperation / networking projects and administration / running costs]. It is projected that this spend will lever an additional million in the form: 2,843,470 will come from private match funding. 612,944 will come from the social enterprise sector. 577,226 will come from Councils / other public expenditure. In total, projected spend including project expenditure, cooperation / networking expenditure, other public expenditure, private match funding, funding from the social enterprise sector and administration equates to 12,924,539 to 31 December The total funding awarded including project expenditure, cooperation / networking expenditure and administration equates to 8,890,899 to 31 December
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