DAERA Minister Michelle McIlveen announced the opening of a Social Farming Capital Grant Scheme, with £100,000 available for farmers who wish to improve their farms to facilitate Social Farming participants on Monday 3rd October. Announcing the opening of the new scheme, Minister McIlveen said: “Social Farming and the involvement in day-to-day agricultural activities is well known for improving the wellbeing of those living with learning disabilities and mental health challenges. It has been shown to benefit the farmers and farm families hosting the participants. My Department has been supporting the development of Social Farming in Northern Ireland for a number of years. Having listened to those involved in the sector, I am delighted to make funding available from my Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme to help meet the capital costs involved in modern Social Farming.”
The Social Farming Capital Grant Scheme is a one-year, pilot initiative. The Scheme will support ‘active farmers’ who are currently involved or planning to be involved in the provision of Social Farming services to adapt their facilities and improve accessibility. Grants of between £500 and £4,999 will be available to those who can demonstrate that their project will contribute to a higher quality on-farm experience for service users.
Minister McIlveen added: “This Scheme will benefit both the Social Farming service users and the farm enterprise. These grants can make a huge difference to the quality of the on-farm experience and I would encourage farmers already involved in Social Farming to visit the DAERA website for more information on the Scheme and advice on how to apply.”
The Scheme closes for applications at noon on Monday 31st October 2016.
If you are interested in reading more about the Scheme or to apply visit: www.daera-ni.gov.uk/topics/grants-and-funding-rural-development/rural-development-grants.