Northern Ireland Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots has praised rural communities for using the £7.5 million rural development fund to benefit people across generations.

Minister Poots visited several communities and their projects in Co. Fermanagh and Tyrone funded under the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme including projects on village renewal, rural businesses and basic services.

The Fermanagh and Omagh Local Action Group (FOLAG) was awarded a budget of £7.5 million by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to deliver the programme.

Minister Poots visited the new Sunshine Centre at Magheraveely, Co. Fermanagh where the Magheraveely Community and Development Association (MCDA) received almost £69,000 in support of the old civic amenity site redevelopment.

The site is now a community centre, a venue for meetings, workshops and other activities.

Minister Poots said it was fantastic to see how the entire community is benefitting from the funding:

“These investments will create employment and provide enhanced community facilities and services for both young and old in Co. Fermanagh and Omagh.”

During his visit, Minister Poots also witnessed improvements made across Trillick village. Having received almost £44,000 of the fund, the money went towards a project at a total cost of £58,000.

The project included the construction of a three-stone sculpture as an entrance feature to the village and the improvement of the footpath between the leisure centre and Woodview Crescent.

Revitalisation initiatives, which included new planters, a notice board, benches and bins and the installation of a tractor sculpture in main street were also part of the project.

The minister also saw how specialist construction and civil engineering company, Alexander Plant Ltd., received almost £52,000, which went towards the project costs of £104,000 to help buy equipment to maintain and service all of their plant and equipment on site.

The Minister for Agriculture thanked all those involved for their hard work delivering projects for their local communities.