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Gildernew launches consultation on Rural anti-poverty and social inclusion ramework

26 January, 2009

Sinn Féin Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle Gildernew MP,MLA is inviting the public to have their say in addressing poverty and social exclusion in rural areas.

A public consultation has been announced by the Minister on a new draft Rural Anti Poverty and Social Inclusion Framework to allocate £10million secured from the Programme for Government.

The framework will tackle rural fuel poverty, childcare and rural transport as well as community development, and proposes a challenge fund for projects that address poverty and social exclusion in rural areas.

The Minister said:

"I am well aware the impacts of the current economic downturn have been acutely felt by all rural dwellers. Indeed the impacts are magnified by many living in the countryside due to reliance on cars, the increased distances to services, jobs and education, and they compound the feelings of exclusion.

"In order to help shape a framework for this funding I sought advice from a range of stakeholders to identify the priority areas. Many groups provided evidence and ideas for tackling these issues and that work has been enormously valuable.

"I believe I have developed a package that is clearly informed by the needs of rural communities and, once measures are launched, will vigorously tackle poverty and exclusion in rural areas.

"I have opened this draft framework for consultation for eight weeks. This is shorter than the normal timescale for consultations but I believe at this moment in time, and given the range of ideas that stakeholders have already given me for targeting this funding, that rural people want to see this money on the ground. I would therefore, encourage everyone to look at my proposals and respond as quickly as possible so that we can tackle poverty and exclusion in our countryside." ENDS


  1. The Programme for Government has made a commitment to address rural poverty and disadvantage and has allocated DARD a £10million package to address these issues over the next three years.
  2. The framework can be viewed at To obtain a copy, or to request an alternative format e.g. in large print, Braille, disc, audiocassette and other languages, please contact:

DARD Rural Policy Branch
Dundonald House
Upper Newtownards Road
Telephone (028) 9052 4598
Textphone (028) 9052 4420

Or by emailing: [email protected]

The consultation will run for eight weeks until 23 March, at the end of the consultation period copies of all comments received will be made available on the Department's website.

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