A scheme to help rural business to sustain, develop and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic will open on May 4, 2022.

The Rural Business Development Grant Scheme is funded through the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme, and will be delivered in partnership with local Councils.

The grant will provide capital assistance of 50% up to the value of £4,999 for the purchase of capital equipment to help rural businesses remain sustainable and recover from the ongoing pandemic.

The total project cost must not exceed £20,000. Projects must clearly address an issue of rural poverty and / or social isolation and applicants must provide a minimum of 50% match funding.

The scheme is being delivered by local councils on behalf of DAERA.

The grant funding will also provide the opportunity for some businesses to increase innovation activity as well as the efficiency of their rural businesses.

DAERA stated that rural business continues to play a vital role in sustaining rural communities and hence their own sustainability at this challenging time is very important.

Community Development funding supports six Rural Support Networks covering all of rural NI, with over 1,500 community and voluntary groups availing of advice and assistance.

This continuous support for many rural community and voluntary groups helps to build the capacity of rural dwellers and their communities.