Initiatives to Tackle Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI)

The latest Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme Framework has been in place since March 2016, enabling Rural Affairs Division to continue to deliver on the strategic direction set out in the TRPSI Framework. The TRPSI Schemes include;

Rural Business Development Grant Scheme (RBDGS) 2022

The RBDGS 2022 was funded from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affair’s TRPSI Programme budget.

RBDGS offered grants of between £500 and £4,999 to micro enterprises based in a rural area to support them in the recovery or sustainability of their business following the COVID-19 pandemic and support existing businesses to grow and develop their business.

The RBDGS 2022 is now closed for applications.

For more information contact your Local Council contact details.

Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme (RMCGS) 2024/2025

The RMCGS 2024/2025, funded from the TRPSI Programme budget, offered Micro Capital grants of between £500 and £2,000 to rural community-led, voluntary organisations for projects tackling issues of local poverty and / or social isolation.

The Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme 2024/2025 is now closed.

For more information contact your Rural Support Network.

Forest Park Enhancement and Community Trail Development Scheme

Over the past 6 years DAERA has committed £7.9m from its Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme to 27 Forest Park Enhancement Schemes. This significant financial commitment has levered in a further £4.8m through partnerships formed with Councils and other grant aiding bodies. These projects contribute to the health and well-being of the residents of the surrounding areas to the Forests/Trails by developing safe, way marked, off-road cycling/walking trails that will accommodate a wide range of users and helping locals and visitors alike to stay healthy and happy, both physically and mentally.

Further details can be obtained by contacting Anthea Owens at

Local Rural Community Development Service (LRCDS)

DAERA developed the LRCDS to encourage and enhance community development infrastructure in rural communities, supporting rural groups and dwellers tackle issues including isolation, inclusion and rural poverty.

The LRCDS seeks to support action on outputs against four themes namely:

  • Support for Community Planning
  • Support for Isolated Rural People
  • Support for the sustainability of Rural Villages
  • Marginalised Minority Community Support (MMC)* 

*MMC provides financial assistance for groups supporting marginalised minority communities in the rural border areas of Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon, Derry and Strabane, Mid-Ulster, Fermanagh Omagh and Newry, Mourne and Down, as an addition to the current LRCDS contract. 

For more information contact your Rural Support Network.

Village Catalyst Programme

Applications are invited from charities, social enterprise and other not-for-profit groups in rural villages of less than 5,000 people who want to tackle rural poverty and social isolation in their area by developing a sustainable use for a disused historic building in their village.

The programme builds on a 3-year pilot, which resulted in 4 projects being developed, highlighted in a short film accessed via this link: link opens in a new window / tab)

To be eligible, the building must be listed or within a conservation area. The 3 available funding routes and details on how to apply are listed below: 

  1. Project Viability Grant – To carry out viability work, with support offered up to £10,000. Please complete the enquiry form via the following link: prior to making an application. This is a rolling scheme. For more information on what this grant can fund, see:
  2. Project Development Grant – To further develop your plans with support offered up to £20,000. For enquiries and applications for this scheme, please contact Please note, this scheme will close once our available budget has been expended. Therefore, early application is recommended. 
  3. Delivery Grant – To deliver your project, with capital funding offered up to £200,000. For enquiries and applications for this scheme, please contact Please note, this scheme will close once our available budget has been expended. Therefore, early application is recommended. 

Your School, Your Club

This partnership initiative in conjunction with the Department of Education, Education Authority, Department for Communities, local Councils and Sport NI will contribute to addressing the unmet demand for sporting and recreational facilities across Northern Ireland by opening up educational sites for local community usage outside of normal school hours. The initiative addresses an identified need for a facility identified on the local area plan/community plan to enhance the existing provision and increase participation in sport and physical activity.

Further details can be obtained by emailing

Rural Support

This registered charity organisation operates a helpline which provides a listening ear and signposting service for farmers and rural dwellers. Rural Support deals with a wide range of issues - from financial problems, inheritance issues / succession planning, disease outbreak, and the burden imposed by farm paperwork and related matters. Rural Support also focus on issues such as stress and emotional distress and physical and mental health related matters.

Telephone: 028 8676 0040,
Helpline number: 0800 138 1678
Rural Support website

Social Farming Support Service

This support service provided by Rural Support staff operates as a hub for Social Farming which provides disadvantaged groups of people in NI with an opportunity for inclusion, to increase their self-esteem and to improve their health and well-being. Social Farming is an innovative use of agriculture to promote therapy, rehabilitation, social inclusion, education and social services in rural areas. It also has wide-ranging and far-reaching benefits that are primarily experienced by the participant and the farmer, but which also positively impacts rural communities.

So Keep Farming

In partnership with the Department for Economy (DfE) and Rural Area Partnership in Derry (RAPID), this European Social Fund project gives more people with a disability the opportunity to engage and contribute by choice in farming, training and social activities.

Libraries NI Out of Hours

In partnership with the Department for Communities (DfC) the Libraries ‘Out of Hours Service’ has provided extended access to library facilities in 7 rural areas. Using a unique identifier PIN code, users can avail of a range of services including access to the public computer network and Wi-Fi, borrow books, access study facilities and, where available, make use of meeting room facilities. This ‘Out of Hours Service’ is now available in Lisnaskea, Dungiven, Maghera, Whitehead, Saintfield, Omagh and Irvinestown libraries.

The Assisted Rural Travel Scheme (ARTS) is delivered by the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and the Rural Community Transport Partnerships across NI. The Scheme delivers passenger trips for rural dwellers entitled to a SmartPass and most in need of rural transport (mainly the elderly and disabled).

Further detail of your local RCTP is available at Rural Community Transport Partnerships | NI Direct.

The Regional Infrastructure Support Programme (RISP) [administered by the Department for Communities] ensures that the rural element of the Voluntary and Community sector has access to the support it needs in order to function effectively. As part of the consortia delivering RISP, both the Rural Community Network (RCN) and Northern Ireland Rural Women’s Network (NIRWN) receive funding towards the rural element of RISP.

The Farm Families Health Checks Programme (FFHCP) in partnership with the Public Health Agency (PHA) and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust provides access to nurse led Health Checks specifically designed for farmers and other rural community dwellers that historically have been reluctant to attend their GP for a range of reasons. Farm Family Health Checks, which are delivered at Marts and Community events across NI, are undertaken by fully trained nursing staff.

Further details can be obtained by contacting Christina Faulkner at

Back to top