Village Catalyst has been picked up by BBCNI rural affairs series, Home Ground, providing a valuable public platform for this cross-departmental initiative.
The programme is the result of a partnership between the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the Department for Communities (DfC), The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) and the AHF.
This silo busting enterprise seeks to target rural poverty and social isolation through heritage (buildings which are either listed or in conservation areas) in villages with a population of under 5,000, building on a pilot which resulted in the development of 4 community-led projects. These involved a diverse range of uses including affordable housing, childcare, a training hotel, co-working spaces and a well-being hub.
Charities and social enterprises can apply for support - from early-stage viability funding through to development funding and capital grants of up to £200,000. The pilot drew in additional funding from a wide range of investors who could see the power of these community wealth building projects.
For further information on the programme see:
11 grants were recently awarded by AHF to projects at various stages of their journey:
Project Viability Grants
Portaferry Regeneration Limited: The Barholm
Kilmore and O’Neilland Preservation Trust (KOT): Kilmore Cottage
Donaghmore Parent Action Group: Mulgreun House
St. Patrick’s Parish Hall Management Group: St. Patricks’s Hall, Fintona
Culmore Community Partnership: Culmore Fort
Caledon Regeneration Partnership: Mill Street Men's Shed
Cloughey Heritage Group: Cloughey Old Church
Bushmills Trust: The National School
Project Development Grants
Ballinderry War Memorial Hall Trust: The War Memorial Hall
Clonduff Development Enterprise: St. John’s Church, Hilltown
Early Years: Clogher Union Workhouse