The Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Councillor Tom Muhall has welcomed the signing of the contract for the new round of LEADER funding for County Laois.
The €7.1m allocated to Laois in the programme from now until 2020 is a fund that will stimulate rural towns and villages in the county and support the set up of small businesses that will seek to create employment in those rural areas.
The innovative strategy for county Laois which was developed by the Laois Local Community Development Company has identified a number of towns and villages in the county which will specifically benefit from targeted interventions under the programme.
These interventions will seek to work with these local communities to develop an enterprise culture in the towns and improve the quality of life for communities in the county.
Laois Partnership Company will implement the strategy on behalf of Laois LCDC.
Speaking at the signing the Chairperson of Laois Partnership Company, Peter O' Neill welcomed the funding stating that the LEADER programme funding is locally based funding.
It is about local peopledeciding what is needed in their areas and developing projects around local needs. It is one of the few programmes from Europe that is decided at the most local of levels and it has been a most important source of funding for both businesses and communities in county Laois over the past number of years.
Anne Goodwin CEO of the Partnership Company said that, “Laois is one of the fastest growing counties in Ireland.
“It is one of only three counties where the population is actually getting younger and those young people need facilities and one of the central themes of the LEADER strategy in Laois is the provision of facilities for rural young people.”