Environment Minister Mark Durkan has announced a £600,000 funding boost for the province’s coastal communities.
Mr Durkan also announced that this Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) has been extended to 2016 and has increased from £500,000 last year to £600,000 this year, a 20 per cent increase.
Since it began in 2012, £950,000 has been made available to coastal communities in Northern Ireland of which £450,000 has been awarded for two projects in Glenarm and Magheramorne. The remaining £500,000 will be awarded in December.
Commenting on the announcement Mark H Durkan said: “A further £600,000 for investment in our coastal communities is a real boost for these areas. These communities play a vital role in the North, contributing to our wider community and economy.
“Successful bids for the CCF funding will be creative and innovative projects that will tap into new business opportunities, create jobs and provide training and new skills that will benefit the whole community.
“I urge our coastal communities to start getting their bids ready now so that they are ready when nominations open next spring. Being prepared will give the best chance to get a share from this £600 000 pot for initiatives that will be a real boost for local projects in their community and unlock the potential of our coastal towns and villages.”
Grants of over £50,000 will be available for projects lasting up to two years. Organisations that can apply include charities; voluntary and community sector organisations; social enterprises, including cooperatives and community ownership initiatives; local councils; development agencies and private sector companies.
The CCF is financed by the Government through the allocation of funding equivalent to 50 per cent of the revenues from the Crown Estate’s marine activities. Rising revenues have meant increased money for Britain and Northern Ireland’s coasts to combat economic decline and create opportunities for people.
The Minister continued: “It is right that revenues raised in the North are used to help communities realise their economic potential. It is encouraging to see this support for our much-loved seaside towns along our coast.
“What I and DOE are about is creating a better environment and a stronger economy. Maximising the CCF will help in achieving that goal.”