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County Down Rural Community Network is now in its 28th Year and growing its membership. The Pandemic interrupted plans to celebrate 25 years in 2020. But we made up for it and had an amazing gala event in Newcastle in October 2022 giving our members a night to remember.

The network has come a long way from small beginnings set up by 5 local groups in 1995, to an organisation that now supports over 300 charities and community groups across three council areas, as well as delivering numerous rural development and health & wellbeing projects and initiatives.

Over 220 community volunteers, funders, partners and stakeholders came together in Hugh McCanns function room in Newcastle. Frank Mitchell was the compere for the evening and Frank was quick to commend the organisation for its years of growth and support to the local community. A prize draw awarded £1000 to four groups from Downpatrick, Millisle and Saintfield. The winners were interviewed by Frank and they congratulated CDRCN on its growth, thanked the network for its support and promised to put the prize money to good use in their local areas.

Cllr Hugh Savage representing the Chair of Newry, Mourne and Down Council opened proceedings thanking the network for its cooperation with council over the decades and in particular for its work on emergency food distribution and other work during the pandemic.

Alan Poots, Chairman of CDRCN reminded guests why and how the network was created in the difficult days before the Good Friday Agreement and how our local towns and villages have been improved with tens of millions of pounds of investment drawn down, in large part, with the support of an excellent team of staff in the Network.

Nicholas McCrickard, Manager of CDRCN and its first development officer spoke about how the network has always maintained a cross community ethos and was looking forward to tackling the broad range of issues affecting local communities. He thanked the staff team in CDRCN their commitment to the local community and for their hard work over the years. He urged the volunteers to continue with their invaluable work in their own areas and called on them to prepare for the future.

This event to mark over 25 years of community development in Down and South Armagh was a wonderful way to thank our amazing volunteers and we look forward to the next 25 + years.

Check out this video with members giving their thoughts on the Network.



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