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.

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 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

Contact us:

E: or
T: 028 2563 3266

Sponsor logos for Rural Development Programmes