One of the most innovative ideas that emerged from the CEDRA process was the idea of Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ). Defined as sub county zones within which most people live and work, REDZ are functional rather than administrative geographic areas that reflect the spatial patterns of local economic activities and development processes. The pilot scheme was launched in June 2015 and €3.7m in total was allocated to 52 projects. The section is currently assimilating the information from these projects with a view to applying the learning to any future REDZ type initiatives.
Originally €2M was allocated for the pilot however the quality of the applications and level of interest in the scheme was such that additional funding was made available so that each qualifying project could be offered at least 50% of the funding applied for. In total €3,758,479 was awarded to approved projects broken down as follows.
- 3 flagship up to €250k – one in each region
- 6 medium up to €150k – one in each region and 2 more on merit
- 17 small up to €50k – two in each region and 6 more on merit
- 25 remaining qualifying projects will be offered up to 50% of the funding applied for on the following basis
- In total 8 flagship, 9 medium, 8 small