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Image: The National School, Bushmills.
Image: The National School, Bushmills.

Nine NI Rural Villages Receive Village Catalyst Support

27 April 2023
Northern Ireland

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is delighted to have awarded nine new grants totalling £150,000 through the Village Catalyst partnership programme, which supports projects aimed at breathing new life into rural communities across Northern Ireland.

These awards will help charities, social enterprises and other not-for-profit groups to tackle rural poverty and social isolation in their area by helping them to test ideas, and develop sustainable new uses, for a disused historic building in their village, which is either listed or in a conservation area.

The buildings benefiting from support in this latest round of funding include two former national schools, a fort dating back over 400 years, an old bank, a former Presbyterian Church, and a thatched, mudwalled cottage.

Proposals for the buildings at risk address local community need and include delivering mental health and wellbeing support for young people; a Men's Shed; a mixed-use hub for a diverse range of community groups; affordable housing; childcare provision; and flexible workspaces.

A full list of successful projects can be found below.

Project Viability Grants

Convent Hall, Rostrevor - Kilbroney Finance Council


Former Danske Bank, Castlewellan - Glór Uachtar Tíre


Poyntzpass National School - Poyntzpass and District Local History Society


Project Development Grants

The National School, Bushmills - The Bushmills Trust


Caledon Stores - Caledon Regeneration Partnership


Culmore Fort - Culmore Community Partnership


Kilmore Cottage - Kilmore O'Neilland Building Preservation Trust


The Old Meeting House - The Cloughey Heritage Group


St Patrick’s Hall, Fintona - St Patrick's Hall Fintona Management Committee


The Village Catalyst programme is an innovative partnership between the Department for Communities (DfC), the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE).

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