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Strategy launched to address rural community concerns

Published: Thur, 10 Nov 2016
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Kate Clifford, Rural Community Network; Siobhan McCauley; Director of Regional Services; Paul Givan, Minister for Communities; Donald Hoodless, Chairperson; Clark Bailie, Chief Executive; and Sinead Collins, NIHE.
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We have launched our Rural Strategy and Action Plan 2016-2020.
The plan aims to sustain and support vibrant rural communities across Northern Ireland through continued partnership working.
Our Rural Strategy and Action Plan 2016-2020 was launched at the Tullylagan House Hotel in Cookstown, which coincided with the presentation of the organisations’ Rural Community Awards by the Minister for Communities, Paul Givan.
We are committed to supporting Northern Ireland’s rural community. 14% of its tenants live in a rural community and a specifically tailored approach for rural issues was vital.
The launch of the new Rural Strategy is a significant first step in publicising the encouraging work which the Housing Executive has done and will continue to do in rural areas.
Speaking at the launch, Minister for Communities Paul Givan said “I welcome the publication of the Housing Executive Rural Strategy and Action Plan 2016-2020. This further builds on the favourable work the Housing Executive has already done in rural areas, and clearly displays both  NIHE’s and my Department’s commitment to developing our rural communities.”
Speaking at the launch, our Director of Regional Services, Siobhan McCauley said:
“The Housing Executive’s vision for the rural community is to sustain vibrant communities and provide economic, social and environmental benefits.
“Our five key strategic objectives provide the focus and direction to address the concerns of people in rural areas and boost community wellbeing.
“We now look forward to implementing this strategy and action plan to make a positive and lasting impact on rural communities across Northern Ireland.”
With the pending introduction of the Rural Needs Bill in Northern Ireland, we will continue to engage with rural residents in order to ensure that existing issues in rural areas are addressed. The organisation will keep rural issues at the forefront and make a difference as priorities are developed.
We actively encourage rural based housing as a viable option. The recent ‘Return to Rathlin’ initiative is an example of the Housing Executive’s support in the development of safe, cohesive and engaged rural neighbourhoods. The Oil Buying Club Scheme and Solar PV panels initiatives also demonstrate a commitment to sustainable living and tackling fuel poverty in rural areas.