Thursday, June 29, 2017

Rural Social Scheme

The provision of a Rural Social Scheme (RSS) was initiated by the Minister for Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs, Mr Éamon Ó Cuív, T.D., and announced in the Budget of December of 2003. The RSS was launched by Minister Ó Cuív on 17th May 2004.

The aims of the RSS are to provide income support for farmers and fisherpersons who are currently in receipt of long-term social welfare payments and to provide certain benefits to rural communities. The RSS allows low income farmers and fisherpersons who are unable to earn an adequate living from their farm holding/ fishing, to earn a supplementary income.

While responsibility for the operation of the RSS rests with the Department of Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs, it is managed at a local level, on our behalf, by the LEADER groups in conjunction with Údarás na Gaeltachta (the implementing bodies). Participants under the RSS are employees of their Implementing Body. Currently there are 124 participants and 6 supervisors based in Co. Sligo.

The Benefits of the RSS to rural communities will be to provide additional resources to maintain and improve local amenities and facilities in rural communities, communities will benefit from the skills and talents of local farmers and fisherpersons and participants will experience opportunities to improve existing or develop new skills, and perform valuable work in the community.

The RSS involves participants undertaking work that will be beneficial to the local community. The types of projects carried out under the RSS are likely to include:

  • Maintaining and enhancing way marked ways, agreed walks and bog roads.
  • Energy conversation work for the elderly and the less well off
  • Village and countryside enhancement projects
  • Social care and care for the elderly, community care for both pre-school and after-school groups
  • Environmental maintenance work – maintenance and caretaking of community and sporting facilities.
  • Projects relating to not for profit cultural and heritage centres.
  • Any other appropriate community project identified during the course of the scheme.

Each participant will work 19.5 hours per week and these hours will be based on a farmer/ fisherperson-friendly schedule. Their annual leave will be calculated in accordance with the terms of the organisation of Working Time Act 1997.

To be eligible to participate on the RSS you must be in receipt of Farm/Fish Assist or Job seekers allowance.