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 peoplenbeing empowered within a structure of communitynsupport 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
– Maximising Access in Rural Areas (MARA)
– Physical Activity