Programmes

RURAL RESIDENTS' FORUM

Rural Community Network has supported and developed the role of the Rural Residents’ Forum (RRF) in supporting rural tenants and residents to scrutinise housing issues from a rural perspective.

The Forum represents residents from rural housing estates across rural NI and membership is drawn from representatives across all six counties in NI and is supported by NIHE’s Rural Unit, Rural Community Network, and is attended by Supporting Communities NI.

The group has actively engaged with NIHE staff over key issues such as DSD’s Social Housing Reform Programme consultation and NIHE’s Community Involvement Strategy.

The Forum is a place for residents to share good practice, share experiences of their representation of their areas on various committees and to discuss issues common to rural residents across the region.   The residents have a keen interest in working to ensure all rural residents have access to information, advice and support. Issues which have been discussed range from concerns over the reform of local government, anti-social behaviour, digital outreach programmes and access to advice and support in health, benefits uptake and housing related matters. Many of the representatives are key volunteers within their own areas and they bring a high level of skill and expertise to this Forum.

RCN is committed to supporting local people to avail of opportunities to get involved with a Forum such as this one, and we provide training and support to help individuals to feel comfortable in being a part of the group.

Click here to download the Rural Residents' Forum leaflet

The current members of the RRF are: 

    Barry Boyle
    Fermanagh Rural Community Network

    Phyllis Clarke
    Fivemiletown Residents' Association

    Phyllis Clarke is married with four children and three grandchildren.  On retiring from local government after 27 years’ service due to health reasons she became heavily involved in her local community in Fivemiletown Estates Group.  The Group is a committee of 12 who are all very committed and passionate about the “wee village”.  The Group thinks the village is sometimes isolated and forgotten about but now they have a voice.  Phyllis represents Fivemiletown on HCN in Dungannon and also on the Mid-Ulster Scrutiny Panel and the Rural Residents’ Forum.  All of these platforms are a great way of sorting out some on the housing issues which affect our community.

    Discussion is very important and she hopes that her being part of all these forums has made a difference.  She feels that rural communities all over Northern Ireland have similar issues and her vision is that we are all listened too.
    Contact details: clarke_phyllis@hotmail.com
    Mobile: 07799 718751


    June Livingstone
    Coleshill Community Association

    Sam Lockhart
    Loughgilly Together Residents' Association

    Sam Lockhart has been at the forefront of community development in the Loughgilly area for the past 20 years.  He was one of the key drivers in the establishment of the Loughgilly Together Residents’ Association.  Sam has helped to secure many improvements for his area, including a new playpark, and has worked tirelessly to represent the community and voice their needs.  Sam was previously honoured with a Community Achievement Award in 2011 in recognition of his work and was also shortlisted for a community award by Business in the Community. Sam represents his community on the Armagh Local Housing Forum, is a member of the South Area Tenant Scrutiny Panel and sits on the Rural Residents’ Forum.

    Martin McCartney
    Maydown Community Association

    Martin has been Chairman of Maydown Community Association for the past nine years and is also one of the founder members of MCA thanks to the help and expertise of RCN and RCEP at that time.  He is currently Vice Chair of North West Ageing Well Together, a sub Group representing The North West, under the umbrella of Age NI.  He was an active member of the Future Forums Chairs Group, until this was amalgamated with other Forum Groups.    Martin is vice chair of The Waterside Area Safety Forum, which represents communities in the East Bank of Derry/ L'Derry.  He is on the Steering Group of Waterside Area Partnership Links Programme.  He is also joint Chair of the Strathfoyle/ Maydown Safety Forum and is involved with Age Sector Platform - Hands Off and Fuel Poverty Committees.  He is a Member of the Consultative Forum of AGE NI and has carried out work in a Peer Facilitators Role on behalf of AGE NI.  He is also currently serving as a Committee Member of PRG, Peace and Reconciliation Group.  He is a Committee Member of HURYT, Have Your Tomorrows and a Committee Member of ALLY Foyle, Adult Learning in Later Years.   He has in the last few months become a Founder Committee Member of a new Organisation in Derry called DEED, Derry Engaging and Empowering Dementia.

    Patricia McQuillan
    Moneydig Rural Network

    Patricia McQuillan MBE is chair of the Rural Residents’ Forum representing the rural hamlet of Moneydig.  She is also secretary of Moneydig Rural Network and works continuously to make sure that the rural voice is heard.  Moneydig is a rural socially excluded location with very little facilities, so the network provides social, environmental and educational opportunities for the local and surrounding areas.  The network is organising a large music festival called ‘gig in the dig’ and was run last year with great success.

    She is vice chair of the Central Housing Forum and represents the Rural Residents’ Forum.  The Forum has a dual role in providing SCNI with valuable feedback on the needs of the community whilst acting as a consultative forum for NIHE, dealing with policy issues affecting tenants/ residents from tenancies to service delivery.  She is on the working group that organises the NIHE Community Conference and participates in every area of this work.   She attends the interagency meetings where NIHE, PSNI, Council, Transport NI and community come together to sort out issues in the towns and estates. 

    If you want to make contact about any rural issue or would like more information on any of these groups don't hesitate to contact her.
    Email:   patricia.mcquillan.live.com
    Mobile:   07590 105053

    Anne Quinn
    Cairns Residents' Group
    As a grandmother to two small children, she feels it is up to us to make opportunities happen and leave a lasting legacy. She has been a member of Cairns Residents Group for 9 years. The Group was originally set up just to make small changes to the estates where she lives and after a break they reformed to try and make bigger ones. Since then it has made the big changes for the area through an allotments program. The Group works closely with many organisations and statutory bodies in the quest to make that wee part of the world a better place to live in.

    She attends the Scrutiny Panel meetings in Coleraine and has also been asked to sit in on the multi-agency meetings in Corrymeela. She was asked to join the RRF not really knowing what it was about, but has learned how valuable the group is in being able to influence the future housing situation and future schemes etc for tenants. Joining these panels can give us an opportunity through the RRF to ask and demand answers to the questions nobody seems to be able to answer.
    Email:  annequinn2010@hotmail.co.uk
    Mobile
    :  07892 494576

    Noreen Rice
    The Meadow and Armagh Road Community Association

     

    Mary Watson
    Carnlough Community Association


    Susan Welsh
    Saintfield Community Estates Partnership
    Susan Welsh lives in Saintfield, Co Down. She was born in Windsor, Berks and moved over here in 1969.  She has been a widow for over 20 years and has five children, 12 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.

    She is Chair of Saintfield Community Estates Partnership.  Its proudest moment has been after many years of haggling and filling in forms it now has a great playground which is up to date and used from morning to night.  She became involved with the Housing Executive through meetings in the Downpatrick office and says that there is a very good relationship with this office.  She was asked to sit on the Rural Housing Forum and also the scrutiny panel.  She is on the management committee of Good Morning Down and has recently become Chair of this.  She is a member of the board of County Down Rural Community Network.  

    Saintfield is about 10miles from Belfast and has grown so much in the last twenty years. With the help of Down District Council as it was then, seats, rubbish bins and also bins scattered around the village for dog waste have been put in the main street.  The Group hasn’t quite managed to train the dogs!  Speed ramps have been put in several places in the hope of stopping the boy racers. The Group has held several events over the years and looks forward to organising more in the future.
    Email:    susanwelsh@btinternet.com

    Clifford Wylie
    Huntly Community Champion

    Clifford is a member of the local housing community network in Banbridge which, consists of approximately 80% rural area and settlements.  He sits on the South Area Scrutiny panel and the Banbridge Locality Forum which feeds directly into the ABC council area.  He is an active member of Banbridge Good Relations Forum (who is always keen for new members).  Through NIHE and SCNI involvement he is also engaged in the Disability Forum, and last but least the Rural Resident’s Forum.  All of this participation allows him to hear and input, inform, get a voice in to represent those not present and have info to feed back. Should you have any issues you wish to have raised ring and talk to me, I’m not a fan of emails or messages, as these are dump it and run mechanisms.
    Contact:  028 4062 6418