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Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2007-2013

The local authorities of Ards, Banbridge, Down and North Down have agreed to form a “cluster” to deliver the new Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme across the four Council areas to 2013.  The Down Rural Area Partnership (D.R.A.P) has been formed, which is a fully inclusive and representative body comprising of individuals and organisations with a experience and expertise in diverse aspects of rural development, and is responsible for delivering a high quality and innovative rural strategy that addresses local rural issues and needs.

The Mission Statement of Down Rural Area Partnership is

 ‘To create actions with the communities and businesses in the  Down Rural Area which will lead to a sustainable, dynamic and  cohesive region of Northern Ireland, celebrated locally, nationally  and internationally as a model of rural good practice.’

As administrative Council for the cluster, Ards Borough Council, in conjunction with a Joint Committee of the Four Councils and the Down Rural Area Partnership, has been charged with administering the funds under Axis 3 of the Programme, which is concerned with ‘improving the quality of life in rural areas and encouraging diversification of economic activity’.  Six measures are available under Axis 3 of the Programme which are as follows;

  • Diversification into Non-Agricultural Activities 
  • Support for Business Creation & Development
  • Encouragement of Tourism Activities
  • Basic Services for Economy and Rural Population
  • Village Renewal and Development
  • Conservation and Upgrading of Rural Heritage

Please note that you can only apply to the Down Rural Area Partnership for NI Rural Development Programme funding if you reside in either the Ards, Banbridge, Down and North Down local authority areas, and are mainly based, or plan to be based, in either a rural locality or in a settlement with a population of 4,500 inhabitants or less.

For further information on Axis 3 of the NI Rural Development Programme and the application process in the Down rural area, please visit the Down Rural Area Partnership website at or contact the main office at 028 9182 0748. 

Please click here to download the DRAP Statement of Accounts for 2010/2011

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