CRUN project to improve well-being of rural people

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THIS month has seen the start of the Maximising Access in Rural Areas (MARA) project at Causeway Rural and Urban Network (CRUN).

The project, which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of rural dwellers in Northern Ireland by increasing access to services, grants and benefits, is a £3m joint initiative between the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and the Public Health Agency (PHA).

CRUN has been commissioned to roll out the project in the Ballymoney and Coleraine areas, ensuring that rural dwellers are both aware of and are availing of the grants and benefits they are entitled to.

The project will help explore the householders eligibility for such schemes as ‘Warm Homes’ (energy saving), Community Transport and Translink’s SmartPass, amongst others.

The project will also help put householders in touch with local and regional services available to them such as local community groups, social clubs and training centres.

Paul Sampson, Project Officer explains: “Initially a large part of our work will be ensuring that we can identify the correct households to visit.

“In order to do this I will be liaising with a number of key stakeholders including the local councils, churches, community groups, charities and appropriate government agencies.

“However, I would encourage anyone who feels they may benefit from the project to get in contact with us. When the first phase of MARA was undertaken in 2010, in some cases, householders who took part received an extra £60 a week as a result of the benefit entitlement check.”

In order to be eligible you need to live in one of the following areas: Garvagh, Kilrea, Ringsend, Dundooan, Agivey, Macosquin, Castlerock, Dunluce, Benvardin, Killoquin, Ballyhoe/Corkey, Stranocum, Knockaholet, Dunloy, Seacon, Dervock, The Vow, Cloughmills and you need to fall into one of the following categories: older people, disabled people, carers, lone parents, ethnic minorities, farming families and low income families.

If you feel that you could benefit from a home visit or would like any further information please contact Paul or Lorna on 028 7034 4934 or email or