County Down Rural Community Network

County Down Rural Community Network is based in Downpatrick and has an office in Newtownards town centre.  CDRCN was formed in 1995 and has expanded to cover most of rural Co Down.  It is the umbrella body for over 100 rural community organisations such as town and village committees, youth and senior organisations and other voluntary bodies. In particular, CDRCN provides development support to its members and others in the rural area of the Ards borough and it manages a wide range of community health, rural development and social economy projects.

CDRCN logo sml

The support services provided by CDRCN to the local community and voluntary groups are summarised below:

  • Ongoing technical, legal and funding support to rural groups;
  • Advocacy, research and consultation on issues affecting rural communities;
  • Facilitate training opportunities tailored to groups needs e.g. capacity building, financial management, committee skills;
  • Regular news bulletins to over 140 groups across Co Down;
  • Support for community activities e.g. fun days, press launches, health fairs, etc;
  • Networking opportunities for groups;
  • Office services, free or at cost price to member groups;

Current County Down Rural Community Network Programmes:

01 Rural Development

CDRCN is one of nine rural support networks across Northern Ireland funded by DARD and coordinated by RCN (NI). We have dedicated rural development staff supporting groups to identify needs and develop projects. CDRCN promotes the Rural Development Programme and helps groups to make funding applications to the Down Rural Area Partnership (DRAP). CDRCN supports community representation on partnerships and focus groups such as Peninsula Community Network, Mid Down Forum, DRAP, Community Safety, Ards Intercultural Forum, Peninsula Healthy Living Forum etc.

02 Community Health Development

The Government’s Investing for Health Agenda is supported and implemented across rural Ards by CDRCN. A range of physical activity, mental health promotion and programmes for all age groups is delivered in locations across rural Ards.

03 Minority and Ethnic Community Support

PEACE III funds CDRCN to deliver a support service to minority and ethnic communities across the three council areas of North Down, Ards and Down. This collaborative project is a result of the strategic development work by the three Community Networks