MLA Bradley welcomes news of social farming grant scheme

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DUP MLA Maurice Bradley has welcomed last week’s announcement by Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen to help local farmers develop their farms for social farming.

Minister McIlveen revealed 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.

Speaking as the grant was announced, the East Londonderry MLA, a member of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs committee said: “Social farming allows farmers to open up their farms to the community in innovative ways.

“The farm, at the same time, remains a working farm.

“We have seen many success stories locally on how farmers and communities can benefit from innovative schemes, and I would urge farmers who want to find out more to contact my office or visit the DAERA website.

“Social farming can ease the financial burdens many farmers face, but it also has educational and health benefits for those that take part,” said the MLA.

Last week, MLA Bradley and his East Londonderry colleague Adrian McQuillan MLA attended a roadshow in Coleraine Town Hall, hosted by Rural Support, a charity for farmers and rural families.

MLA Bradley said: “This charity provides advice to local farmers on a variety of issues, including rural stress and promoting positive mental health in rural areas.

“The ‘Rural Support’ charity can also provide advice on social farming. And, at the roadshow last week, we heard of the many benefits of such schemes.

“Any local farmers wishing to find out more about the work of ‘Rural Support’ can call their helpline number on 0845 6067 607.”