Tackling Rural Poverty & Social Isolation – A New Framework

The Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Framework is a rural initiative led by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) which aims to tackle poverty and social isolation in rural areas through organisations working in partnership to design and implement measures which target the needs of vulnerable people. TRPSI is one of a number of complementary initiatives led by DARD which are aimed at helping to ensure that the needs of rural communities are addressed.

The new TRPSI

This new TRPSI Framework is the third in a series of anti-poverty initiatives brought forward by DARD and builds on the success of two previous initiatives, the Anti-Poverty and Social Inclusion Framework (APSI) 2008-2011 and the Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Framework 2011-15. The new Framework has been developed following consultation with stakeholders and has been informed by the report on the evaluation of
the previous TRPSI Framework and the position paper produced by the ARD Committee following its review of the previous Framework.

While poverty and social isolation exist in both urban areas and rural areas it is recognised that those living in rural areas often experience poverty and social isolation differently due to issues relating to geographical isolation, lower population density and the dispersed nature of many rural settlements. Living in a rural area can also exacerbate the effects of
poverty and social isolation for certain groups. For example additional costs of living in a rural area such as higher fuel or transport costs can have a greater impact on people on low incomes while some groups such as young people or people with disabilities may experience greater difficulties accessing transport services in rural areas than in urban
settings. 

Working in partnership

The Executive recognises that no one single Department has responsibility for rural issues and that all Departments have functions which can contribute to alleviating the impact of poverty and social isolation. The TRPSI Framework has been developed to provide a broad Framework within which Departments, other public sector organisations and the
rural sector can work in partnership to develop new and innovative ways to help alleviate the effects of poverty and social isolation in rural areas, particularly among vulnerable groups.

DARD recognises the remit that other Departments have in respect of rural areas and their responsibility to take account of the particular needs of rural communities when developing and implementing policy. The TRPSI Framework provides a mechanism which can assist other Departments in identifying and addressing the needs of rural communities by more effective partnership working with DARD and other organisations.

Benefits of the new Framework

The TRPSI Framework is unique in that it focuses on the needs of the most vulnerable groups in rural areas. It seeks to maximise the benefits from the TRPSI funding at DARD’s disposal and to promote the sharing of learning and expertise. It also allows DARD to combine the tools it has available to help tackle poverty and social isolation in rural areas (e.g. financial resources, staff resources, legislation, experience etc) with the financial resources and expertise of other public sector bodies and the local knowledge and skills provided by the rural community sector. There are benefits to be gained through a collaborative approach that can lever additional resources for the benefit of rural communities. It also provides flexibility to help address a broad range of poverty and social isolation issues and to target specific groups of people in rural areas who have
been identified as being at risk of poverty and/or social isolation.

The new TRPSI Framework also seeks to promote the development of new and innovative approaches to address poverty and social isolation issues in rural areas. It also seeks to support interventions which lever additional funding and other resources to target the needs of vulnerable groups. It also facilitates the piloting of new or innovative projects to test out.

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