More than £800,000 is to be awarded to villages across Mid and East Antrim Borough as part of the Village Renewal programme.
The funding, from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) will see at least ten villages receive up to £60,000 each in Grant Aid, with Council contributing up to £20,000 each.
Eighteen villages have been working to create or amend their village plans, which is the first step in applying for a portion of the funding.
These include Ahoghill, Ballycarry, Ballygally, Broughshane, Carnlough, Clough, Cullybackey, Glenarm, Gleno, Glenravel (including Martinstown, Cargan and Newtowncrommelin), Glynn, Gracehill, Grange, Kells and Connor, Islandmagee area, Millbrook, Portglenone and Whitehead.
Villages have also participated in a consultation process to enable them to assess their community’s needs and to ensure their village plans are relevant and future-proof.
The final strategies will also be a resource that each village can use when applying for funding and resources.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council thanked all the volunteers, community activists and community groups who took part in the programme by hosting a special reception in Larne last week.
Speaking at the event, Alderman Maureen Morrow said: “I would like to thank all the village representatives who have helped drive this process at a local level. Without their commitment, energy and ideas the process would not have been the success it has been.
“I would also like to thank the support from the Rural Development Programme. Putting People First is core to our Community Plan and this has been central to the village renewal process. Council has invested in village renewal and supported communities to plan alongside independent consultants.
“This project has required a lot of hard work to get to this stage and community involvement has enriched the process with energy, ideas and enthusiasm.”
The event marked the completion of eighteen village plans. The project is being led by Council’s Community Planning and Development department.