Funding announced to tackle poverty and exclusion in rural areas
08 April 2010
Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA has announced £416,000 funding for projects to tackle poverty and social exclusion in rural areas throughout the north of Ireland.
The investment is a roll out of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (DARD) Rural Challenge Programme which is awarding £416,000 to 90 voluntary and community based organisations. The funding will enable them to implement projects aimed at tackling poverty and promoting greater inclusion in their local area.
Announcing the funding, the Minister said: “Getting to grips with the real depth and impact of poverty in rural communities requires a deep understanding of the complex nature of disadvantage. Poverty and social exclusion are multi-faceted in terms of causes, nature and incidence among vulnerable groups in society and in rural areas display a number of distinct characteristics.
“Sometimes perceived as essentially an urban issue, disadvantage and exclusion are very real for many people living in our rural areas and the degree to which it is felt, or is visible, can vary greatly from one area to another.
“The Rural Challenge Programme, involving the community and voluntary sectors, has a key role to play in tackling poverty and exclusion. Children, young people, the unemployed, disabled, and ethnic minorities are among those who will benefit from the programme through projects which address health and well-being, education, housing and transport and access issues.
“Local people are best placed to identify the challenges they face and, through a bottom up approach, develop practical solutions to meet the particular needs of their area. The response to the Programme has been very positive and I commend
the willingness of the voluntary and community sector to play its part in seeking out the most needy and helping them take control of their situation.
Reflecting on the innovative nature of this Programme the Minister added: “Cooperation and sharing of best practice with the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs during the research and development phase of the Rural Challenge Programme helped to shape the form and focus of this innovative scheme. Learning is a key issue for this programme and this learning will assist in determining future policy on poverty and social exclusion issues and will help DARD, other government departments and statutory bodies in developing better services for rural communities throughout the north of Ireland”.
Pictured are Rural Development Minister, Michelle Gildernew MP MLA with Boho Community Association members Margaret Riley and Betty Little during her recent visit to Boho community hall. The Association has been awarded £5,000 from the Rural Challenge Programme to provide a weekly club for elderly rural residents in the area.