£1m refurbishment scheme will support rural communities

Mid Ulster DUP MLA Keith Buchanan has welcomed the announcement of a £1m rural halls refurbishment scheme.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 2:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th May 2021, 2:52 pm

Speaking after accompanying Minister Edwin Poots on a visit to St Colman’s Parish Hall, Ardboe, Mr Buchanan said it was important to support rural communities.

“This pilot scheme provides an opportunity for our rural community and voluntary organisations to deliver capital refurbishment works to rural halls,” said Mr Buchanan.

“These halls are vital within our mainly rural community and it is important that we ensure the fabric of our halls are in good condition and that we support existing rural organisations to remain sustainable.

Mid Ulster MLA Keith Buchanan, Edith Richardson, and Minister Edwin Poots.

“Coming from a rural area, and having been involved with voluntary organisations in my community, I understand the need to build capacity among our community, maintain our rural halls and enable our volunteers to continue the important services they deliver.”

He said the scheme will target rural halls which have had limited previous investment and are under-utilised due to their condition.

“It is intended to reach those rural groups and communities most in need and to assist rural organisations which offer space and services to the benefit of the rural community,” he continued.

“I encourage those groups who are eligible to apply and I am happy to advise further if necessary.”

Minister Poots added: “Community halls play a vital role in underpinning local community life, enabling activities to prevent loneliness among people in rural areas and creating stronger more connected communities.

He added rural groups played a key role in responding to Covid, with much of the work being co-ordinated from community halls.

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