Rural Development Programme

Rural Development Programme

Logo for the Mid and East Antrim Local Action Group

Mid and East Antrim Local Action Group (MEALAG) has been set up to manage and deliver the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014 - 2020 across Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne.

MEALAG received £4.19m from the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), which is managed by the Department of Environment, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

Please note: All funding for this programme has now been committed and no further applications will be accepted at this time.  However, as we hope the programme will be run again at a later date, Expressions of Interest forms will still be accepted.

Visit the MEALAG website

The Local Action Group seeks to:

  • Protect and enhance our rural environment; and
  • Contribute to competitive and sustainable rural businesses, and thriving rural communities.

Programme Funding Measures

The NI Rural Development Programme (2014-2020) is open to people who live in, or organisations which operate in, either the countryside or in settlements with a population of less than 5,000.

Programme funding will be used to encourage the economic development of rural Mid and East Antrim and will be delivered across a range of Measures, including Rural Business Investment, Village Renewal, Basic Services, Rural Broadband and Cooperation.


Rural Business Grants of up to £4,999

Capital grants up to a maximum of 50% grant rate are available to existing micro-enterprises based in a rural area to support them to recover, sustain or grow through DAERA’s Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme. 

The scheme is open for applications between Monday 3 August 2020 and 12noon on Friday 11 September 2020.  Grant aid of between £500 - £4,999 is available for projects costing up to £20,000.

How can I find out about the Grant funding?

To find out more about the scheme, the application, assessment and claims process, you should register and attend our online workshop:

You can register for the workshop by contacting T. 028 25633266 or E.

Is my Business Based in a Rural Area?

Rural areas are those areas with less than 5,000 residents and outside of designated urban areas. The scheme cannot support businesses based in the urban towns of Ballymena, Larne, or Carrickfergus, nor within the Mid and East Antrim Urban Area.
If you’re unsure if your business location is eligible, contact T: 028 25633266 or E.

How do I apply?

The application form will be available to download from this website from Monday 3 August 2020.

Fully completed application forms with supporting documents must be submitted by 12noon on Friday 11 September 2020.  Applications in the Mid and East Antrim area should be submitted via email to

E: or hand/post delivered to:

TRPSI Programme,
Investment & Funding Unit,
Silverwood Business Park,
Michelin Site,
190 Raceview Road,
BT42 4HZ

Guidance Document – to follow
Application form – to follow

For more information – contact us on:

T. 028 25633266 


Rural Business Investment Scheme

Grants of up to £90,000

This scheme will provide investment support for the creation and development of micro and small enterprises in rural areas, including farm diversification and private tourism businesses.

The funding will provide capital grants for the creation and development of non-agricultural activities.

Some examples of the types of project we can fund include:

  • Construction or improvement of immovable property
  • Purchase of new machinery or equipment
  • IT activities
  • Craft activities
  • Marketing
  • Bespoke training

We are currently accepting applications from:

  • Private individuals – 18 years or older living in a rural area
  • Micro Enterprises – less than 10 employees, non-agri activities
  • Small Enterprises – 10-49 employees, non-agri activities
  • Social Economy Enterprises – engaged in economic activities in rural areas

Rural Business Investment Scheme

Rural Basic Services Community Scheme

Grants of up to £150,000

This Scheme will support capital investments which will provide access to basic services or improvements in social infrastructure.

It includes activities to reduce isolation and/or poverty, so as to improve the welfare and access to basic services of those living in rural areas, and which are an integral part of and in line with the Council Community Plan and emerging priorities.

Projects must relate to the main theme of Innovative Service Delivery, such as the creation of Community Hubs, where capital infrastructure is put in place to allow for a number of services to be delivered to the community. Infrastructure projects will be limited to small-scale capital developments, up to £150,000.

Rural Basic Services Community Scheme

Village Renewal Community Scheme

Investing £950,000 in 18 villages

This scheme is providing financial support for the preparation of 18 Village Plans that are consistent with the Council’s Community Plan, and integrate with any Village Renewal Plans that were supported under the 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme.

The Village Plans will enable the identification of small-scale capital infrastructure projects which can be seen to improve the village and can be supported through RDP investment by the Council.

The measure aims to build on the overarching fabric of a village or town, integrating with funding from other government departments and agencies. It aims to address rural dereliction and prioritise the re-use of existing derelict buildings, particularly to provide community infrastructure.

Village Renewal Community Scheme

How to apply

  • Contact the team at the Investment and Funding Office to check your project is eligible for funding
  • Complete an Expression of Interest Form
  • Attend a pre-application workshop - you cannot submit an application unless you have done so.
  • Check out the Mid and East Antrim Local Action Group website for guidance on the application process and supporting documentation required.

Contact us:

E: or
T: 028 2563 3266

Sponsor logos for Rural Development Programmes