Initiatives to Tackle Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI)

Initiatives to Tackle Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI)

The Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme 2011/12 - 2014/15 was designated as one of DAERA’s four PfG targets.  TRPSI - A New Framework has been in place since March 2016 and a £4.0m+ budget (resource and capital) has been in place on an annual basis to continue to deliver on the strategic direction set out in the TRPSI Framework.

Rural Business Development Grant Scheme

This Scheme, funded under the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affair’s Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme, is now open for applications.

Rural business development grants of between £500 and £4,999 are available 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 total project cost must not exceed £20,000. Projects must clearly address an issue of rural poverty and / or social isolation and applicants must provide a minimum of 50% match funding. 1586 applications were received and of those eligible 648 received offers of grant aid in November /December 2020.

The Scheme is being delivered by local councils on behalf of DAERA

Community Development funding supports 6 Rural Support Networks covering all of rural NI, with over 1,500 community and voluntary groups availing of advice and assistance. This continuous support for many rural community and voluntary groups helps to build the capacity of rural dwellers and their communities.

Ongoing but flexible arrangements are in place to allow the Networks support and provide practical help to Council Hubs, Trusts, Community and Voluntary Sector and rural dwellers during the ongoing pandemic.

For more information contact your Rural Support Network


Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme 2020

This Scheme, funded under the Department’s Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme, offers Micro Capital grants of between £200 and £1,500 will be made available to rural community-led, voluntary organisations for projects tackling issues of local poverty and / or social isolation and to assist the recovery and reset of rural communities following the Covid-19 pandemic. Through 2020 Rural Micro Capital Grant 653 Letters of Offer of grant were issued offering £850k grant. Claims are starting to be processed with 50 claims paid back totalling £63k  

For more information contact your Rural Support Network

The Assisted Rural Travel Scheme (ARTS) is delivered in partnership with the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and the Rural Community Transport Partnerships (RCTPs) 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).

In recovering from Covid 19, and having made necessary adaptations to their vehicle fleet, the RCTPs have recommenced passenger trips. Further detail of your local RCTP is available at

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 are delivered at Marts and Community events across NI.

Due to the latest lockdown, FFHCP’s have been suspended again and will resume when safe to do so.

Further details can be obtained from Christina Faulkner

Forest Park Enhancement and Community Trail Development Scheme:

Over the past 4 years DAERA has committed £5.9m from it Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme to 19 Forest Park Enhancement Schemes. This significant financial commitment has levered in a further £3.3m to through partnerships formed with Councils and other grant aiding bodies. This investment is helping locals and visitors alike to stay healthy and happy, both physically and mentally.

Six further projects that can deliver by 31 March 2021 are currently being issued with offers for grant being prepared for Council the proposed schemes. These projects, when complete, 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.

SPRING Social Prescribing – This project is delivered with the support of the Department of Health, the Health and Social Care Board and in partnership with the rural Healthy Living Centres. It aims to link medical care to non-clinical locally delivered support services by enabling medical professionals to refer rural patients to a range of activities and services to support greater independence, reduce reliance on primary healthcare, tackle poverty and isolation issues and deliver better outcomes for rural people and society.

Social Prescribing has recommenced on a restricted basis in 2021 with referrals increasing gradually.

Historic Environment Division - Village Catalyst Pilot ProjectThis pilot project is a partnership initiative between Historic Environment Division (HED), the Architectural Heritage Fund, DAERA and local community social enterprise groups. It aims to restore disused historic buildings in rural villages, increase opportunities for a range of local social engagement activities by improving access to key services in rural areas through the provision of an enhanced facilities and ultimately act as a catalyst for further regeneration in rural villages.

Two further villages (Caledon and Rathfriland) are set to benefit from this initiative in 20/21 whilst a project at Gracehill will complete and work continues on a fourth in Ederney, Co Fermanagh.

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.

In 20/21 it is intended further projects supported include Newtownstewart PS, St Pat’s PS Eskra, St Pat’s Maghera and St Mary’s Glenview Maghera.

    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

    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. 

    Social Farming Capital Grant Scheme 2020

    This Scheme aims to encourage farmers involved in the provision of Social Farming services to adapt their facilities and improve accessibility that can contribute to the achievement of the Social Farming Standards.  The Social Farming Capital Grant Scheme can provide funding of up to 50% of the total capital costs associated with your project, up to a maximum grant of £4,999. The minimum grant awarded is £500

    Step Up to Sustainable Employment (SUSE+)

    Aims to promote employment in the Council areas of Fermanagh and Omagh and Mid-Ulster by engaging with unemployed, economically inactive and socio-economically deprived individuals. South West College deliver the SUSE+ initiative.

    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 6 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 and Irvinestown libraries. 


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