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Gildernew encourages Rural Communities to find out more about the ‘Rural Champion’

25 September, 2008

Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA is encouraging rural communities to attend local information events to find out more about the concept of Rural Champion and enhancement of rural proofing.

Events have been organised at venues in rural areas to give rural communities an opportunity to hear at first hand how the concept is being developed. Community representatives, rural organisations, farmers, farm families and individuals with an interest in rural areas are urged to attend.

The rural champion concept, which has already received the backing of the Executive, aims to ensure that the needs of, and issues affecting, those living and working in the countryside are considered as all new policies are developed.

Commenting on the current consultation, the minister said

"The Rural Champion concept is an important step in rural development, defining how we do things on a regional, local and community scale. It also sets the stage for the development of the Rural White Paper which will better define what government and communities will do to ensure the sustainability of rural areas. I would like to see as many people as possible come along to these events to air their views and ideas. I look forward to receiving feedback from them, which, together with other responses to the consultation, will help to shape how this concept develops and progresses. " ENDS

Notes to Editors

The public consultation on the Rural Champion concept and the enhancement of rural proofing was launched on 13 August and closes on 5 November 2008.

Events are planned for the following locations:

Moneymore Recreation Centre
Moneyhaw Road, Moneymore
30-Sep 7.15 to 9pm

Craigavon Civic Centre
Lakeview Road, Craigavon
01-Oct 7.15 to 9pm

Kircubbin Community Centre
2 Church Gr, Kircubbin
04-Oct 12.30 to 2.30pm

Omagh Community House Ltd
Drumragh Avenue, Omagh
06-Oct 7.15 to 9pm

Cornmill Quay
Marine Park, Annalong
09-Oct 7.15 to 9pm

Islandmagee Community Centre
Island Village, Ballystrudder
11-Oct 12.15 to 2pm

Culleybackey Community Centre
Tobar Park, Culleybackey
14-Oct 7.15 to 9pm

Newtownhamilton Community Centre
The Square, Newtownhamilton
16-Oct 7.30 to 9.30pm

Corick House Hotel
20 Corick Road, Clogher
18-Oct 12 to 2pm

  1. The consultation paper is available from, or on request from R. Griffin, DARD Rural Policy Branch, Dundonald House, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast, BT4 3SB. Telephone 028 90524598.
  2. The Programme for Government PSA17 objective 2- Adopt the Role of a Rural Champion has two actions: to define role of rural champion and enhance the rural proofing process; and develop proposals for a Rural White Paper.
  3. The definition of the Rural Champion concept is a key aim of the DARD Strategic Plan 2006-2011 and DARD Rural Strategy 2007-2013.
  4. The process of rural proofing was developed to consider the impact of government policy on rural areas. The process was a Programme for Government commitment in 2002, designed to ensure that the rural dimension was routinely considered as part of the making and implementation of policy. Responsibility for ensuring that the rural proofing initiative is effectively developed and that Departments have adequate guidance for rural proofing lies with DARD. However, each department must apply the process of rural proofing to its own policies.

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