Rural Needs - case studies

Samples of how rural needs might be taken into account in policies, strategies, plans or public services are set out in the case studies links below.

Dial a Lift service

The Dial a Lift scheme is a service for people living in rural areas who are unable or find it difficult to use public transport. To use this rural service a person must become a member of their local community transport organisation, must live in a rural area that is an area not covered by the interim urban Disability Action Transport Scheme and must have difficulty accessing everyday services due to a lack of transport. Members can use this service for a variety of purposes including to go shopping, to the hairdressers, to doctor and local health centre appointments, to the pharmacy or Post Office, to access training or recreational opportunities or even just to visit friends or family. Bookings must be made at least two days in advance and while transport may not always be available (as the service depends on vehicles and volunteers being available) local community transport offices do their best to organise suitable transport and users may be asked to share a vehicle or travel earlier or later depending on availability

Farm Family Health Checks Programme

The farming community is particularly susceptible to poorer health and wellbeing, partly driven by the wide demands impacting on farmers across a range of social and economic factors. They often work long and anti-social hours which can lead to social isolation and often have difficulty accessing traditional health care services.

The Farm Families Health Checks Programme was developed to offer a means for farmers and their families to access health screening checks from a portable clinic and from local community settings. The project consists of a mobile unit, manned by health professionals which visits local markets and community events across Northern Ireland, to offer on-the-spot health checks consisting of blood pressure monitoring, BMI, cholesterol check and diabetic screening. In addition, individual lifestyle advice will be given on a range of health issues, including mental health and onward referral completed to local support services as required, including a GP referral process and follow-up service.

Sustainable Schools Policy

The sustainable schools policy sets out six criteria and associated indicators that should provide a framework for helping to consider issues of school sustainability. The criteria cover the strength of links to the local community, educational experience, enrolments, financial position, school leadership and management, and accessibility.

The policy recognises that there may be greater travel and transport issues for pupils living in rural communities which are relevant to consideration of rural provision. Schools are often at the heart of rural communities and provide valuable, often scarce, facilities. It is important that children in rural communities have access to a quality education in cost-effective provision. In the policy a lower enrolment threshold was therefore set for primary schools serving rural areas and a school accessibility criterion also included.

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