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


Networking Event with the Argiculture and Rural Development Committee

The Rural Community Network is hosting a breakfast networking event with the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development in its offices in Cookstown on 28 May 2015 (from 9.00 am until 11.30 am).  The event’s question and answer session will focus on how to build better engagement between the third sector and political parties. 

CO3, RCN and Assembly Community Connect have organised the event and places can be booked with Sarah Boyd at CO3 (telephone 9024 5356).

14 May 2015

Launch of Community Participation in Planning Project

Today saw the launch of a new Community Participation in Planning Project to explore how communities can be more meaningfully involved in shaping public services and local places.  

The project will explore how communities of interest, place, practice and learning can get involved in local area planning and the new power of Community Planning.  The project is a partnershIp between Ulster University, Community Places, University of Aveiro (Portugal) and Politecnico di Milano (Italy).   

The project will help communities, service providers and local authorities across Northern Ireland, Portugal and Italy build stronger relationships and gain a better understanding of the relationship between people and place.

Launching the Project Belfast Lord Mayor, Cllr Arder Carson, said: “Today’s event is a great opportunity to exchange experience and learning between each of the partner countries taking part.  There is much to learn from how things are done elsewhere and I am sure all participants will find this a very valuable opportunity.

Speaking at the Project launch, Louise O’Kane, Planner at Community Places, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to work with and share learning between European partners to develop innovative ways of engaging stakeholders in shaping local sevices and places for people.  Each of the partner countries is undergoing reform.  Here, the project will be taking place in an era of unprecedented change for local government with the transfer of planning functions and the introduction of Community Planning. These are important ‘place-shaping’ functions which will empower Councils across the region to make a real difference to people, places and the environment through improved service delivery, innovative and creative joint working; and more responsive and efficient local leadership and action. ”

Gavan Rafferty, Lecturer at Ulster University, said: “The project, supported by Erasmus+ is an important opportunity that will help communities understand, and get involved in, Area Planning and Community Planning so that better services, places and opportunities are developed for people. ”  

Please contact us (9023 9444) if you would like to more information on the project.

Pictured below are Project Partners with Belfast's Lord Mayor, Arder Carson, at the Launch in the City Hall.   Photograph by John Murphy (Aurora Photographic Agency)

23 April 2015

Residents win Planning Appeal at Hearing

Residents living beside an industrial steelworks site in the countryside have welcomed the decision that the expansion of the site is unauthorised and must cease.  The Planning Appeals Commission issued its decision following detailed arguments presented by the residents with the support of Community Places.  Louise O’Kane, planner with Community Places, said “this is an important decision for the local residents and sets a precedent for how industrial development in the countryside should be properly planned and managed”. 

The site in question is in the townland of Tievenagh near Dungannon and full details of the case can be found here.

23 March 2015

Village SOS Launch

The Rural Community Network is delivering and co-ordinating Village SOS, a campaign that aims to help and inspire rural communities across the region to start or develop projects and/or social enterprises by providing mentoring and practical support across a wide range of areas.   The formal launch of Village SOS will take place on Thursday, 26 March 2015 (from 12.30 pm to 2.30 pm) in An Carn Conference Centre, Tirkane, Maghera. 

For information about Village SOS please contact Fergal at RCN (telephone 8676 6670).  If you would like to attend the launch on 26 March 2015 contact Teresa at RCN

5 March 2015

Rural Proofing Bill Consultation

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is running a public consultation exercise from 3 February to 16 March 2015 on proposals for a Rural Proofing Bill.  The proposed Bill would require policy makers to assess whether proposed policy is likely to have a different impact in rural areas compared with elsewhere.  It will support the equitable treatment of rural dwellers by requiring their needs and the impact on rural communities to be appropriately addressed in the development and delivery of policy and public services.  The consultation documents can be accessed on DARD's website

As part of the consultation exercise, DARD is hosting a series of public meetings to hear your views. The times and locations are:

  • Thursday, 19 February 2015 from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm in the Old Town Hall, Banbridge
  • Friday, 20  February 2015 from 11.30 am to 1.30 pm in Garvagh Community Building, Garvagh
  • Wednesday, 25 February 2015 from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm in CAFRE Loughry College (Cookstown)
  • Thursday, 26 February 2015 from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm in CAFRE Greenmount College (Co Antrim)
  • Monday, 2  March 2015 from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm in CAFRE, Enniskillen Campus
  • Tuesday, 3  March 2015  from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm in the Old Court House, Markethill
  • Wednesday, 4  March 2015  from 10.00 am  to 12.00 noon in The Pavilion, Stormont Estate, Belfast
  • Thursday, 5  March 2015 from 2.00 pm to  4.00 pm at Omagh Forum for Rural Associations, Omagh
  • Friday, 6 March 2015 from 2.00 pm to  4.00 pm in Glenshane House, Dungiven

To register to attend, or for more information, email: or telephone 028 9052 4106.

23 February 2015