About Us

The 7 Local Rural Support Networks (RSNs) are a strong and unique rural infrastructure which provides support to communities in all rural areas of Northern Ireland.

The Local Networks draw members who are largely rural and cover a wide range of community and voluntary sector organisations in their area of remit including: community groups, social economy, play groups, farmers, women, youth, disability and older people etc.

A Unique Rural Infrastructure

Covering all of Rural Northern Ireland, the RSNs have been recognised as an example of good practice and an essential conduit between rural communities and statutory bodies – providing communities with access to the decision making process, and decision makers with a means of tapping into the expert local knowledge on the ground.

Each Rural Support Network is independent and therefore directly accountable to, and fully representative of, the communities they serve.

We are membership based and our Management Boards are elected each year at AGM from our member groups. Our primary aim is to support local groups and organisations to achieve what they want for their community.

An Overview of the Rural Community Development Support Service

Rural Community Development Support Service

Rural communities across Northern Ireland have been pro-active since the early 1990s, looking for ways to support themselves and to create independent, sustainable environments. People in rural communities quickly realised there is strength in numbers and that by co-operating with each other they can achieve much more than they could in isolation.

Over the past 25 years, communities within rural Northern Ireland have established a number of Local Support Networks of their own. They have moulded, shaped and cultivated these organisations in the manner that best works for them. This community focused outlook led the Rural Support Networks; a series of interconnected branches that exists to service rural communities.

So how do the networks help the people who work so hard to make this a better place to live? We engage with the local community. Over the last two years we have travelled throughout Northern Ireland to deliver nearly 700 training and community events. By offering these services we provide the tools that allow rural communities to develop strong working relationships with one another.

In essence, this equates to some 12,000 people being empowered within a structure of community support that exists solely to meet their individual and collective needs. In just three years we have levered in some £53 million of investment to rural communities. Within this time we have provided many new programmes and services including, mental health and suicide prevention, health and well-being, and physical activities.


The local rural support networks enable empowerment, capacity, and future sustainability through the provision of a wide range of support services to assist local groups and organisations.

Your Local RSN

The local rural support networks cover all of rural Northern Ireland.  Find your local network and get in touch for help in your area.