Rural Social Economy Investment Scheme

The Rural Social Economy Investment Scheme will provide grants between £25,000 and £50,000 to emerging and established rural social enterprises in Northern Ireland to enable them to increase their capacity, potential profitability and sustainability whilst supporting those who live in rural areas.

The outcomes and lessons learned from this Scheme will contribute to the development of a future programme under the Rural Policy Framework.  Full information on who can apply, what is eligible for assistance, and how to apply is detailed in the Scheme Information document below:

Scheme Information - Rural Social Economy Investment Scheme

Definition of a Rural Area

The projects need to be located in a rural area, except in exceptional circumstances where the applicant can clearly demonstrate that the majority of their activity benefits the rural area or where the majority of beneficiaries are rural dwellers.  For the purposes of this Scheme, rural is defined as all those areas outside the statutory development limits of those towns with a population in excess of 5,000 inhabitants.  Settlements with populations in excess of 5,000 inhabitants are listed in the document below:

Rural Social Economy Investment Scheme Definition Sheet

Support for Applicants

DAERA have appointed Rural Action in partnership with the Rural Community Network (RCN) to carry out animation and pre-application support activities to assist potential applicants to access and apply to the scheme. DAERA would recommend that all applicants avail of this support.  Support includes:

Virtual Assistant - a dedicated email service ( is available to address any pre-application queries or questions in relation to preparing and submitting an application to the scheme. Staff will be on hand to respond to queries and to provide advice on eligibility.

Pre-Application Workshops - a series of 5 webinars are scheduled to take place.  These webinars will provide information on applying to the scheme including an opportunity to review the application form and understand the application process.  More information on how to register is available online at:  These online workshops are scheduled to take place on:

Tuesday 10 November 2020 10.00 a.m
Thursday 19 November 2020 7.00 p.m
Tuesday 24 November 2020 10.00 a.m
Tuesday 1 December 2020 7.00 p.m
Thursday 3 December 2020 1.00 p.m

FAQ - A Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) log will be maintained and available online at 

How to Apply

Detailed guidance on how to complete an application and a copy of the application form and associated templates are provided below:

Application Guidance Notes

Application Form

2-year Financial Projections template

Annex B Co-declaration of support

Quotation record (Annex A template 2)

If, after having read the information and guidance, you feel you are eligible to apply or have any queries then you should contact

The Department will open a call for applications on Monday 2 November 2020 and the call will close at 5.00 p.m. on Friday 11 December 2020.  You can submit your application to at any time before the deadline.  Funding for these grants is limited and a competitive process will apply.  There is therefore no guarantee that your application will be successful. 

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