Thursday, 29 October 2015

Village SOS - Are you missing out on valuable support?

Village SOS is an exciting new opportunity for rural based organisations to get practical support to develop a new project or add value to an existing project.  It is about rural communities being enterprising in their approach to developing a solution to a local issue.  The project may have a particular social economy focus but it simply can be about trying to develop a more sustainable service to meet local need.

Whilst the resources are relatively small this is a fantastic opportunity to at least bring a project from an idea to a plan.  It can provide flexible support to help organisations be ‘investment ready’ so that they may be in a stronger position to apply to upcoming funding opportunities. 

Rural Community Network (RCN) will coordinate all Village SOS activity in Northern Ireland and welcomes the opportunity to support your organisation in some way through this campaign. 

It does not involve an application process as such, rather a simple conversation to assess eligibility.  

Examples of projects supported
This programme is very flexible and will be tailored appropriately to the needs of each community.  However it is useful to share some of the experiences to date so we have summarised some of the support provided to date:

  • Bann Valley Community Group has been supported with costs towards the development of a video consultation with key stakeholders about a new proposed indoor sports complex and towards support for external consultancy for community consultation exercise
  • Dromboughil Community Association develop crafts and sell in stores and at craft fairs.  They were given practical financial assistance in developing a new ecommerce website for selling their products online
  • An Carn Ltd has been supported to develop a new bespoke range of Irish Pottery for sale in their craft shop and online
  • Maghera Cross Community Link has been supported to pilot a summer scheme which was to ascertain demand in the area for a new after schools club which is being considered
  • TIDAL (Toome) has been supported in bringing in some expert support to undertake a community consultation exercise and develop a new capital funding application.

To find out any further information about Village SOS please contact Fergal O’Donnell on 028 8676 6670, 07725 030295 or email

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Mid Ulster, Town Centre Shop Improvement Scheme Now OpenThe Council's Town Centre Shop Improvement Scheme is now open and you can download information, including an application form, by clicking here.
The scheme offers a discretionary grant to property owners or tenants of up to 50% of eligible costs, capped at £10,000 per property, for external improvements to shop frontages and/or internal improvements visible to the public.
The scheme closes on Friday 13 November at 4pm.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

MenuCal tool to calculate calories and identify allergens

MenuCal is a free online tool.  MenuCal has been developed for food businesses in Northern Ireland to help identify, manage and communicate required allergen information and calculate and display Calories on menus.  It has been developed with the input of chefs, caterers and small business owners.

Launched by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), MenuCal helps food businesses identify if there are allergens present in any of the food they serve and make this information known to their customers. In addition, MenuCal also addresses healthier eating by calculating the calories in the food that businesses serve. The tool enables food businesses to add ingredients for recipes and print off menus with allergen and calorie information clearly displayed.

View Tool Here

Marketing ¦ Ardean

Monday, 12 October 2015


Mid Ulster District Council is to open a funding programme for improvements to businesses in five town centres.
The new scheme, which will see grants awarded for 50% of the costs, up to a maximum of £10,000 per property, will provide funding towards internal refurbishment works visible to the public, and external improvements to building frontages in Coalisland, Cookstown, Dungannon, Maghera and Magherafelt
Eligible businesses will include shops, financial and professional services, restaurants, public houses, caf├ęs and food takeaways.
The scheme will be publically advertised and will open in late October 2015 for applications.
In the meantime, any business wishing to register an interest in receiving an information pack when the scheme opens, should contact Davina McCartney,, Paul McCreedy, or Mary McCullagh,, Tel: 03000 132 132

Tuesday, 6 October 2015


A new £13.8m EU funding call for research and innovation (R&I) projects targeted at small and medium sized enterprises has been welcomed by Northern Ireland's finance minister Arlene Foster.

The funding call, under the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) is targeted at SMEs, micro-businesses and research institutions in Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland.

It aims to encourage increased cross-border co-operation to promote higher levels of (R&I) in the development of new products, processes and tradable services.

Full details of the call, including expected results and outputs can be accessed here:

Applications to the call must be received no later than 3pm on Wednesday 21st October 2015. Applicants must be able to deliver upon all of the objective's outputs as detailed within the call.

Source: Insider Media

Funding : Ardean

Thursday, 1 October 2015


Eighty per cent of businesses surveyed across the UK are unaware they could be fined £20,000 per worker for underpaying the national minimum wage (NMW), according to the government.

From today (1 October 2015) NMW ra
tes increase for almost all employees, including apprentices.

However, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said many bosses are ignorant of the penalties for not paying it.A total of 84 per cent said they were aware of today's rate increase, however, only 26 per cent knew that the new rate for people aged 21 and over is £6.70.

Read More From Source Insider Media

Business Planning ¦ Ardean