New name for rural development body

New name for rural development body

12 December 2012

AN organisation which has played a pivotal role in the lives of rural people in East Down for the past 17 years has taken on a new name.

County Down Rural Community Network (CDRCN), formerly East Down RCN, launched a new name and website on Thursday at a big community splash in The Great Hall of the Downshire Estate.

Over 50 groups were represented, from Kilkeel to Ballywalter, and all the volunteers enjoyed festive food and entertainment.

Presentations from Nicholas McCrickard, manager of CDRCN, and Michael Hughes of Rural Community Network (NI) highlighted the huge achievements of EDRCN over the last 17 years and looked forward to the future full of optimism.

Nicholas said that the new look Community Network had a great team and he was hugely encouraged by the enthusiasm of the staff and the voluntary sector across County Down.

“As we look forward to the reform of local councils and work through the current economic downturn, vital community services and the health and well- being of our local rural areas is dependent on volunteers working with Government to make sure that those most in need are given comfort and support and helped to get the best out of life,” he said

“Since 1995, CDRCN has helped hundreds of community groups to build halls, playparks and social enterprises and brought thousands of hours of community and health activities to our most isolated villages and towns.

“We have also been able to work with groups and Councils to lever in well over £20m of EU and Government investment in that time.”

Nick Moore, Chairman of CDRCN, launched the new website and highlighted the need for top quality communications in the modern community sector. He thanked the staff of CDRCN for their commitment and sheer hard work and he wished all groups every success for the future.

South Down MLA, Chris Hazzard, and councillor, Pasty Toman, were encouraged by the progress of the network and wished it well for the future. They said rural development was a key part of central and local Government work and local groups needed the ongoing support from County Down Network to maximise the grants and benefits to this area.