The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is encouraging eligible organisations in Northern Ireland to apply to the new €50million Rural Regeneration and Social Inclusion investment area, under the new PEACEPLUS programme.

The Rural Regeneration and Social Inclusion Programme aims to create a more cohesive society through an increased provision of shared space and services in rural areas.

This will result in strategic investment, designed to allow rural communities to thrive and reach their full economic, social and environmental potential.

On the opening of the scheme, NI agriculture minister, Andrew Muir commented: “This funding focuses on social, economic and environmental projects which contribute to the creation of healthy and inclusive communities in rural areas.

“The programme will support rural community development, sustainable regeneration and social inclusion through improved access to key services, social enterprise development, development of green infrastructure to improve health and wellbeing, and rural and tourism enterprise to deliver significant and sustained contact between diverse rural communities. 

“I am pleased my department is working in partnership with the Department of Rural and Community Development in the Republic of Ireland and the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) in providing funding for this investment area under the PEACEPLUS programme.

“This partnership means we can achieve much more in terms of contribution to the creation of more resilient, vibrant and prosperous rural communities where people want to live, work, visit and invest,” Minister Muir added.

Rural funding areas managed by DAERA

PEACEPLUS is a new European Union funding programme for the 2021-2027 EU period, designed to support peace and prosperity across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland, building upon the work of the previous PEACE and INTERREG programmes.

The closing date for receipt of applications is 5:00p.m on Thursday May 23, 2024.

DAERA is the accountable department for five PEACEPLUS Investment Areas (IA), two of which are focused on rural, with IA 2.4 Smart Towns and Villages Programme which opened for applications earlier this year. 

This is part of an overall investment of €1.14 billion across the entire PEACEPLUS programme.

The Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) has the statutory remit for managing EU funding programmes within Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland helping to foster peace and prosperity across the region.