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Grants help district projects to SOAR

Volunteers, community groups and businesses across Newry and Mourne District have scooped a whopping £138k windfall between them courtesy of the Southern Organisation for Action in Rural Areas (SOAR). In Rostrevor the area’s Community Association used its £5,825 to upgrade its Water Street centre into an attractive, vibrant and modern facility in the heart of the County Down village. Not far from Rostrevor another beneficiary of SOAR funding is the East Coast Adventure Centre, which has used its £11,742 to create a climbing wall. The new feature is an ‘add on’ to existing facilities has helped strengthen the adventure centre’s market share by providing a large and comprehensive range of sporting and recreational activities which are otherwise unavailable in the area – as it was reflected in the robust report offered to East Coast’s application from youth groups and schools across Northern Ireland. In order to minimise the costs to these new groups and schools East Coast Adventure purchased a climbing wall, which could be transported to various locations across the country. Other business thriving thanks to SOAR funding is Annalong’s husband and wife enterprise Willow Tree Timber Products. Nestled in the foothills of the Mourne Mountains Ciara and Derek Tiernan’s company manufactures a range of hand-built timber products for animal housing, garden products and bespoke products. The £6k they have received from SOAR will allow them to expand their product range and increase their productivity through the purchase of more equipment. Another successful husband-and-wife team have much to celebrate after securing £50k towards the refurbishment of their Silverbridge premises into a more efficient workspace for their tenant. James and Nell McAvoy’s newly enhanced premises ensure their tenant Polar International continue to trade from there. Meanwhile Mullaghbawn-based business Shanroe Photography is snap-happy after securing £31,645 for arrange of equipment to expand and diversify the current business. Shanroe used the money to provide a purpose built studio and purchase a range of equipment enabling the development of a slate-based craft product. Local sub-contractor Michael Mackin meanwhile secured £12,525 to purchase moulds and equipment for expanding his business. Also ‘breaking the mould’ is AWP Environmental Ltd. The Newry based company is using its 20k SOAR funding to produce a new setoff moulds which will be use to manufacture a new kit design. The new product will be manufactured in a way that will allow stacking of components which will ensure the transport costs are reduced per unit. Applications for grant aid are for farm diversification, rural business or expansion of existing projects and businesses due to open in 2012. Contact the SOAR central office on 028 3831 2588 or visit our website www.soarni.org for more information.


Newry Democrat

21st August 2012