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


Lottery Heritage Fund - Briefing Session at RCN

The National Lottery Heritage Fund Northern Ireland is about to make some changes to how it will fund organisations and projects.

Rural Community Network is hosting a briefing session with the Fund on Thursday, 14 March 2019 at 10.00 am at its offices in Cookstown.  The briefing shouldn’t take any longer than an hour and it is an opportunity for groups to get an overview of the future direction and ambitions for National Lottery funding for heritage over the next five years.

Fund representatives will explain the main changes and opportunities offered by the new framework, the key features of the new open programme including the outcomes it will be using to assess projects and will also offer guidance on submitting an application. 

Groups can register by email or by telephoning Theresa at RCN (8676 6670).

8 March 2019

Participatory Budgeting Works - Learning Event

During the last year Community Places has been co-ordinating the PB Works Project. We have worked with a range of organisations to create an enabling and supportive environment for Participatory Budgeting (PB) practice across the region. Seven PB projects have benefited from tailored support to plan and implement a PB process. These included: Rathlin Island’s 'Grugach's Gold'; Newry, Mourne and Down's 'Communities Leading Change'; Fermanagh and Omagh's 'Community Cash'; and Parent Action's 'Getting our Voices Heard’.  Additionally, Newington Housing Association, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and Forward South Partnership have received support to help them initiate and plan for PB processes which will be happening over the coming months.

Participants share the learning from the PB Works Project

On Wednesday, 28 November 2018 over 65 people attended a ‘Sharing the Learning’ event. Central to the event was the opportunity to hear from our PB trailblazers who shared their learning and insightful reflections on their respective PB processes.  Participants also heard from Dr Andrew Grounds from Queen's University who presented the findings of an Impact and Evaluation Report on the work of the PB Works Project. The final report will be available on the PB Works website soon. The entire day was captured through a live video produced by Chris Heath from 3FortyFiveFilms and is also available on the resources page of the website.


7 December 2018

Planning Advice Outreach (Claudy)

We are continuing our series of drop in planning advice sessions throughout the region.  The next one will be held on Thursday, 8 November 2018 (between 1.00 pm and 4.00 pm) at The Diamond Centre, Baranailt Road, Claudy

Our planning advice service is part-funded by the Department for Infrastructure and enables us to provide free, confidential, impartial planning advice to people and communities who cannot afford to pay a consultant.  

You can drop into the outreach event any time between 1.00 pm and 4.00 pm - there is no need to make an appointment - to get advice on a one-to-one basis from our planning staff.  We can give advice on:

  • commenting on or objecting to a planning application;
  • development proposals in the local area;
  • how Causeway Coast and Glens Council deals with and decides on planning applications; and
  • any other planning issue.

If you are not able to drop into the advice event, we can also give advice by telephone (9023 9444) or by email ( 


19 October 2018

Participatory Budgeting Works Project

The Participatory Budgeting Works Project is delighted to announce that we will be working with and providing support to:

  • Rathlin Development and Community Association
  • Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Community Planning Partners
  • Parent Action CIC, Downpatrick.

The support will be tailored to each project to facilitate the planning and implementation of their PB grant making processes. This will result in practical examples of PB on the ground with opportunities for local people to get involved in shaping and having a say on how resources are allocated in their areas. Each of the projects are excited to be involved and looking forward to the challenge.

On Rathlin, islanders can join in by pitching or voting for an idea that will allocate resources from the Rathlin Manor House, the community’s social enterprise guest house and restaurant. PB is an ideal method to return the benefit directly to the community. This way islanders will decide together how it is used and get stuck in to delivering whatever projects are voted through.

“Communities leading change” will be the focus in Newry Mourne and Down. Two PB events are planned. The first event will be based in the Mournes District Electoral Area and will seek ideas in relation to Rural Isolation, Health and Wellbeing, and Improving the area. The second event will be district wide with a focus on improving the lives of younger people.

Parent Action will focus on “Getting our voices heard” where parents of children, young people and adults with disabilities and long-term health conditions will collaborate with public service staff to explore how public budgets are spent.

Our support partners are PB Partners and The Democratic Society. Each project will deliver the PB processes by the end of November 2018. Participants will capture and share learning from their PB projects to inform and encourage further PB practice across the region. More information on each of the PB projects will be available on the PB Works website as they progress.

PB Works will also be providing support to a number of other organisations to help with their initial developmental plans for a PB process. This includes: Fermanagh and Omagh District Council; Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council; Newington Housing Association and Forward South Partnership. More information will be available soon.

The Participatory Budgeting Works Project is a collaborative effort to raise awareness of and advocate for Participatory Budgeting (PB) across the region. Participatory Budgeting can be described as “Local People deciding how to allocate part of a public budget.” It is a way for citizens to have a direct say in how public funds are used to address local needs. PB is much more than just deciding how resources are allocated.  It provides opportunities to engage in non-traditional ways that reach out to people who don’t often have a voice and it can become a celebration of positive action in the community.

The PB Works Project is co-ordinated by Community Places and includes a range of organisations from the public, community and voluntary sector working together to create an enabling and supportive environment for Participatory Budgeting.

PB Works is funded by the Big Lottery Fund through The Building Change Trust.

If you would like to find out more about the PB Works Project visit our website or contact Louise O’Kane

13 August 2018

Privacy Notice Update

We have updated our Privacy Notice in preparation for the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations which come into operation on 25 May 2018.  The Notice lists the information we may collect from people we work with; explains how we use the information; how long we keep the information for and how we keep it secure. 

You can read and download the notice here.   


18 May 2018