Downpatrick Office 02844612311 / Newtownards Office 02891828884

Rural Community Development


Building & maintaining community infrastructure and developing community capacity

Our core business of providing a crucial Community Development service to a wide range of rural community organisations has continued to develop and grow throughout Ards and North Down, Newry, Mourne and Down and with our sister network TADA across Lisburn and Castlereagh Council area.


As a brief example of the work we do in the last year alone CDRCN provided over 100 community groups with:

Practical support on issues such as – start-up support, governance, training, best practice, legal issues, finances, funding, research & needs analysis, project planning & delivery, monitoring & evaluation, business plans, conflict resolution, charity registrations and yearly returns.

Assistance applying to funding under the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme (NIRDP).

Signposting community, statutory and business services to community groups, entrepreneurs, farmers, individuals.

Articulating the rural voice through community engagement in regional, generic and thematic programmes and work with government departments, council and the wider voluntary and community sector to support communities in the development of community planning structures.

Micro Grants – £132,221.17 grants administered to 122 small rural groups under Phase 4 of the DAERA Micro Grant Capital Scheme.

300+ community groups free access to CDRCN equipment and resources for events and activities.

Free information on funding, training, events & opportunities provided via 6 newsletters to 300+ community groups and a free Facebook page.

1,500+ volunteers from Newry, Mourne and Down District accessed training, networking, best practice and information events.

Seaforde & District Community Association funded by DAERA Rural Capital Microgrant Programme 2018

In Newry, Mourne & Down and South Armagh


• Support to DEA forums
• Facilitated interagency forums across Newry, Mourne and Down
• Membership of Newry, Mourne and Down Strategic Stakeholder Forum
• Membership of NIRDP Local Action Groups, Fisheries Local Action Group and Peace IV Partnership


• Capacity building support provided to community facilities arising from the review of community facilities
• Delivered Training in Succession Planning, Financial Management and Marketing and Social Media
• 97 community projects supported to make funding applications to the value of £3.5m


• 5 networking events and best practice visits with community groups to areas of interest
• Peace IV Shared Services work completed with seven local area action plans developed
• Peace IV Reimaging and Regeneration project action plans progressed in 10 areas

Case Study

CDRCN supported Teconnaught GAC to secure their funding award from the Rural Development Programme (Rural Basic Services) and to get their project started.

CDRCN provided assistance to 15 groups to make pre requisite applications under Basic Services to Mourne Gullion Lecale. Support included assistance with the application, project documentation, extensive procurement process, development of a business plan and sourcing and securing match funding. All groups supported were subsequently invited to make online applications to the programme. Staff assisted all the groups with their application process and are providing ongoing support with follow up site visits and additional

In Ards & North Down

CDRCN Staff in rural Ards and North Down work in close liaison with local community groups providing both one-to-one support on funding, governance, etc as well as facilitating and co-ordinating opportunities for groups to network both locally and across villages. 2019 saw us partner with 5 villages to deliver good relations training and projects, including a cross border residential for community volunteers from the Ards Peninsula to Loophead Peninsula in Co Clare.

Key highlights from recent work:
Collaborative work with:
• Ards & North Down Borough Council
• Ards and North Down Rural Partnership
• SE Health & Social Care Trust
• Peninsula Healthy Living
• Sure Start
Assistance to rural groups on projects funded by NIRDP Village Renewal Measure Partnership work on community planning.

200 volunteers trained:
Training in governance, keeping children safe, marshal / stewarding of an event, good relations, first aid, IT awareness and food hygiene.
5 reimaging projects through the Village Facelift Project

Case Study

CDRCN assisted Ballygowan Regeneration to secure NIRDP funds to undertake a feasibility study for development of an environmental scheme at a former landfill site at Moss Road. Following completion, Ballygowan Regeneration is now working with Ards and North Down Borough Council in developing the scheme further for the benefit of the local community.

Case Study

CDRCN secured funds from The Executive Office Good Relations Capacity Building Pilot to run a good relations project.
• 5 rural villages involved
• 50 community volunteers trained
• 30 volunteers engaged in shared Cultural and Historic Outings
• 5 good relations projects delivered

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