Featured Member - Rural Community Network (NI)

23 Sep 2015 Shauna O'Neill    Last updated: 4 Jul 2019

Rural Community Network NI logo

Rural Community Network is a membership based, voluntary organisation established in 1991 by community groups from rural areas to articulate the voice of rural communities on issues relating to poverty, disadvantage and community development.

Rural Community Network adopts a community development approach to its work and employs a team of 6 staff with a broad spectrum of skills.

Policy and Research

Rural Community Network works with policy makers and rural communities to build up the evidence base around the key issues impacting on rural communities and to ensure that the issues that matter to rural people are taken into account by decision makers. RCN believes policy should be developed in partnership with citizens and local communities and that government should recognise that people are experts in their own lives and have the right to have a voice in the decisions that shape the quality of their lives.

Rural dwellers face a number of different challenges impacting on the quality of people’s lives and the sustainability of rural communities such as the rationalisation and centralisation of local and central government services; housing; planning; fuel and child poverty; mental health; transport; and education. RCN’s research and policy work is driven by the commitment to ensuring that in tackling these issues ‘nothing about us is done without us'. RCN has recently been working on lobbying around the rural proofing bill, the measurement of deprivation in rural areas and the siting of Renewable Energy Technology in rural areas.

Skills and education

Rural Community Network supports the development of training and other resources to enhance good practice in relation to rural community development. RCN supportS volunteers and paid workers in rural communities to develop their skills, knowledge and experience which can add value to the work that they do. Below is a link to a brochure which contains further information on training and skills development which we currently deliver. RCN is also currently the NI regional partner for the delivery of the Big Lottery funded Village SOS programme. To discuss your training needs please contact Fergal O’Donnell.

Click here to download the Training Brochure

Community Relations

This programme of work promotes the ethos of a “Shared Future” within and between rural communities across Northern Ireland. All projects and activities carried out under this programme focus specifically on issues related sectarianism and racism in rural communities. There is also scope for work on gender issues, minority ethnic work, cultural diversity, social exclusion and poverty, culture, equality and championing sustainability.  The Cohesion, Sharing and Integration programme itself develops rural community initiatives, feeds into the NI policy context and promotes cohesion, sharing and integration at both a local and regional level.


RCN has a membership base of over 300 members. These include community groups, NI wide voluntary organisations, statutory groups and individuals.  Membership gives your group access to support on community development, finance, governance and good relations, helps develop connections across NI and ensures you are part of a strong rural voice which advocates for equality for rural communities.  If you wish to become a member or to discuss the benefits of membership contact Kathryn Kerr.


Rural Community Network, 38a Oldtown Street, Cookstown, Co Tyrone  BT80 8EF. 
T   028 8676 6670
E   [email protected]
W  www.ruralcommunitynetwork.org

shauna.oneill@nicva.org's picture
by Shauna O'Neill

Information Officer

[email protected]

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