It will focus on encouraging partnership working and the development of new and innovative ways to tackle rural poverty and social isolation.
Minister O’Neill said: “I am delighted to present this new Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Framework with its focus on ‘Supporting Rural Communities’.
“I am very proud of the achievements delivered under the previous £20 million TRPSI programme which has made a real and positive difference to the lives of rural dwellers. It has improved access to transport and broadband services, promoted positive mental health, helped to address fuel poverty, improved access to healthcare services and supported community development work.
“My goal now is to ensure that the new Framework maintains the structures and mechanisms we’ve already established so that DARD can continue to work in partnership with other public bodies and the rural community sector to improve the quality of life for our vulnerable rural dwellers. To that end, I have also brought forward an action plan for the next financial year which includes continued support for a range of activities and introduces some new initiatives,” the Minister explained.
The new TRPSI Framework will continue to focus on the three priority areas of access poverty, financial poverty and social isolation and retain the ability to develop measures to target vulnerable groups based on identified need.
The Minister continued: “As a rural dweller I am acutely aware of the difficulties facing our farm families. I know the challenges faced by our most vulnerable, the elderly who can feel isolated and alone, young people who feel they have limited opportunities because of where they live, or people with disabilities who face challenges which are exacerbated by where they live.
“I appreciate the difficult financial climate that we are all living and working in, however, in rolling out this new Framework, there is an opportunity to embrace new approaches to tackling poverty and social isolation and to be creative in identifying innovative solutions. The Executive recognises that no one single department has responsibility for rural issues. It is therefore vital that we work together both within and outside of government in seeking to deliver better outcomes for rural dwellers,” Minister O’Neill concluded.
Notes to editors:
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