Independent and not-for-profit with 30 years' expertise in planning, community planning and engagement


Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme 2021

The Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme is funded under the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Programme.  The Scheme opened on 1 October 2021 and will remain open for applications until 22 October 2021.

Micro Capital Grants of between £200 and £1,500 are available to rural community-led, voluntary organisations for projects tackling issues of local poverty and/or social isolation.   The total project cost must not exceed £3,000.  Projects must clearly address an issue of rural poverty and/or social isolation and applicants must provide a minimum of 15% match funding.

Projects must focus on one of the following three themes:

  1. Modernisation (of premises and/or assets);
  2. Information Communication Technology;
  3. Health and Wellbeing.

In recognition of the impact of Covid-19, and the need for investment to re-open and safely operate venues, eligible costs may include structural alterations.  Goods which have a degree of permanence (anticipated to have a life beyond one year) or can be permanently affixed to the venue may also be considered eligible.

The scheme is being delivered by the Rural Support Networks on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.  Application forms, guidance notes and further advice and information is available from your local Rural Support Network.


4 October 2021

Community Consultation for Quality of Life

Developing better quality community consultation is the focus of a new research project by the Ulster University and three other universities (Edinburgh, Cardiff and Reading). 

Details of the project “Community Consultation for Quality of Life” and how to keep in touch as it progresses can be found here

30 September 2021

Join The Dots Participatory Budgeting – Creating Connections!

Collaboration for Change (CfC) and partners are delighted to announce the launch of Join the Dots Participatory Budgeting (PB) around the theme of creating connections.  CfC is a collective of organisations and individual activists who are working alongside each other for the Common Good. We work to create open spaces for shared learning, peer support, practical hope and collaboration. 


Marian Farrell, CfC said “We are excited to have our first and totally digital PB process on the theme of Creating Connections.  This theme is all about bringing new folk together to work on an idea for the common good. People could also submit an idea that will, in itself Create new Connections that bring folk together for the common good. Groups can bid for funds of up to £500 (or its euro equivalent) to make an idea happen”.


Roisin McLaughlin, from NWCN one of the 9 partnering organisations said “This has been an excellent opportunity to learn about PB.  PB is all about people voting to decide how to allocate part of a budget. It is a way for citizens to have a direct say in how funds are used to address local needs. We are very proud that the funds available have been sourced through crowdfunding by our own CfC activists and supporters.  It has been all about collaboration within the community sector right from the start and it has been a pleasure to work with all of the other partners involved.”


The Join the Dots PB process launched on 23rd August 2021. To find out more, come along to one of our support workshops, on the 9th and 14th of September.


Topic: Join the Dots PB Support Workshop 1

Time: Sep 9, 2021 19:00 London

Meeting ID: 839 8694 4449

Passcode: 888830


Topic: Join the Dots PB Support Workshop 2

Time: Sep 14, 2021 11:00 London

Meeting ID: 847 4560 0840

Passcode: 809022


More information can be found at



Notes to Editors:


  1. Partnering organisations include North West Community Network (NWCN), St Colum’s Park House, Northern Area Community Network, Armoy Community Association, Zero Waste North West, Outer West Neighbourhood Partnership, Social Farms & Gardens and Community Places & PB Works
  2. For further information:
  3. For media queries contact: Roisin McLaughlin 028 71 261941 or
1 September 2021

Putting People in the Lead through Quality Participatory Budgeting

Our next learning workshop is on the theme of Community Led Participatory Budgeting (PB) and we are delighted to announce we will have guest speakers from the Gorbals in Glasgow.  The workshop will be held via Zoom on Wednesday, 16 June 2021 from 10.00 am to 11.30 am.  

What can you expect at the workshop? 

  • An introduction to Participatory Budgeting (PB) and further details on the Putting People in the Lead through Quality PB Project;
  • Hear from guest speakers Jo Speirs Community Budgeting Officer and Community Panel representatives from the Gorbals Ideas Fund in Glasgow; 
  • Help shape a PB Charter to support 'Quality' PB processes;
  • Sign up to become a PB Works Network Member. 

The Gorbals PB process is designed, developed and delivered by residents who live in the community, sit on the Community Panel and believe that people should be more involved in the decisions that affect their lives  

Please register to attend the workshop in advance.  You may join it from 9.50 am.


10 June 2021

Planning Your Place: Getting Involved - Engagement Sessions (25 May 2021)

Community Places and the Department for Infrastructure are co-hosting four online engagement events on Tuesday, 25 May 2021.  The sessions form part of the work of the Planning Engagement Partnership (established by Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon, to explore ways of improving the quality and depth of community engagement in planning).  All our member groups and people we have given planning advice to are invited to attend and give their views on how community engagement in planning can be improved. 

The four online sessions – each lasting 90 minutes – are themed as follows:

  • successful placemaking (10.00 am);
  • communicating creatively about planning (12.30 pm);
  • open and inclusive engagement (4.00 pm); and
  • engaging communities digitally (6.30 pm).

A wide range of expert speakers will share their own experiences of community engagement in planning, on how local communities can become involved in how their areas are being planned and how the Covid-19 pandemic has increased creativity and innovation in community engagement.  Discussion and issues raised at the sessions will feed into recommendations to improve community engagement in planning and will be presented in a report to the Minister.

You can attend any or all of the sessions.  Further information (including how to register) is available by clicking on the image below.


17 May 2021