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 2022

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

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, and is available to existing businesses who did not avail of the scheme in 2021.

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

The Scheme is open for applications at 9am Wednesday 4th May 2022 and closes at 12 noon Tuesday 31st May 2022. Late, or incomplete applications cannot be accepted.

Details of the Online Application, Guidance Notes and further advice and information are available from your local councils, details of which are found in the link below.

For more information contact your Local Council contact details

Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme 2021

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 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.

The call for applications to Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme 2021 is now closed.

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 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

DAERA jointly funds the Regional Infrastructure Support Programme (RISP) (administered by the Department for Communities) to ensure 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, recommenced in May 2021. Fully trained nursing staff are undertaking these carefully managed visits.

Further details can be obtained from Christina Faulkner at

Forest Park Enhancement and Community Trail Development Scheme

Over the past 4 years DAERA has committed £5.7m from its Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme to 17 Forest Park Enhancement Schemes. This significant financial commitment has levered in a further £3.9m 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. DAERA will support 12 additional Schemes in 2021/22 providing funding of £2.5million.

A call for Expressions of Interest for projects to be funded in 2022/23 has issued to Councils, with a closing date for EoI submission of 11 March 2022.

Further details can be obtained from Ciaran McLaughlin at

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. With the recovery from the latest Covid lockdown underway, SPRING staff have recommenced their work and clients are again being referred to Social Prescribers.

Further details can be obtained from Martin Duffy at

Marginalised Minority Communities Support

This project will provide financial assistance for groups supporting Marginalised Minority Communities (MMC) in the rural border areas of Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon, Derry and Strabane, Fermanagh Omagh and Newry, Mourne and Down, initially as an add on to the current Rural Community Development Support Service Programme (RCDSSP) for the period October 20 – October 2021, and, subject to continued need, to include it as an objective in the new programme - October 2021 – October 2024

Village Catalyst Pilot Project

This pilot project is a partnership initiative between Department for Communities, Historic Environment Division (HED), the Architectural Heritage Fund, the National Heritage Lottery 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. Three further villages (Ederney, Caledon and Rathfriland) are set to benefit from this initiative in 21/22 while the project in Gracehill is now concluded.

Village Catalyst Programme

Based on need and a recent evaluation, a 5 year programme was recently launched at Caldeon and will award up to £4.2m over the next five years to charities and social enterprises to support the restoration of up to 19 disused historic buildings. DAERA is contributing £2.7m over that period from its Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Programme budget. For more information please e-mail Historic Environment Division (HED) -

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 from William Devlin at

    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 2021

    The Social Farming Capital Grant Scheme is a capital grant scheme for farmers involved in the provision of Social Farming to adapt and sustain their facilities and improve accessibility to contribute to a higher quality on-farm experience for service users and contribute to a sustainable future for social farming services in Northern Ireland. The grants is targeted at those Social Farmers who are working towards meeting the recently agreed Social Farming Standards.

    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.

    Step Up to Sustainable Employment (SUSE+)

    Step Up to Sustainable Employment (SUSE+) is a partnership with Further Education Colleges and Local Councils in the South West that promotes 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

    Prosper Employability Project - The Prosper Project has two strands. Strand 1 provides Mentoring support to 100 young people engaged in the Southern Regional College’s Schools’ Partnership Programme. Strand 2 provides specific vocational training leading to qualifications identified by local employers. Southern Regional College has extensive links with local employers and provides a comprehensive range of supports to SMEs. These relationships were extended to ensure local businesses have access to a well-trained and qualified workforce that provide the opportunity to survive and thrive economically. Training is available across a range of occupational areas e.g. CAT C lorry driving, forklift driving, Emergency First Aid at Work, Customer Services, AI training, HEIGHTs and SIA door security & CCTV training.

    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.

    Back to top