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Gildernew opens workshop on rural antipoverty and social inclusion framework

4 March, 2009

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA today further outlined her proposals to deliver a £10million fund to address rural poverty and exclusion.

Speaking at a workshop being held as part of the ongoing public consultation on the draft Rural Anti-Poverty and Social Inclusion Framework the Minister said: "Tackling rural poverty and promoting social inclusion are key policy priorities for me personally. The input into the development of this framework from key rural stakeholders has been invaluable in identifying key issues which contribute to poverty and social exclusion in rural areas. The issues identified of fuel poverty, childcare, rural transport and community development have been supplemented by a Rural Challenge Programme to allow communities themselves to identify and address issues surrounding poverty and exclusion.

"The economic climate has changed from when the need for this framework was first identified, with the impact on rural communities compounded by the nature of rural living, the reliance on cars and the ability to access equitable services.

"This workshop today offers the chance for rural representatives to highlight their ongoing concerns, identify new issues and ensure that the funds are targeted effectively to produce a real and ongoing impact on rural people's lives."

The workshop, held at CAFRE Loughry Campus, attracted a wide range of interested bodies from local government, rural stakeholder groups, voluntary and community sector.

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