12 extra places have been allocated on the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) in County Cork – bring the total number of participants in Cork now to 377 according to North Cork Fine Gael Cllr. John Paul O’ Shea.
The new places will provide support to more low-income farmers and fishermen, enabling them to carry out valuable community-based work and thereby helping to deliver on a Programme for Government commitment to rural Ireland.
Councillor O’ Shea said: “At the outset, I would first like to reiterate my support, and that of the Government, for the Scheme. In recognition of the valuable work undertaken in rural communities under the RSS, I am very pleased to see that an additional 12 places will be made available in County Cork under the Scheme. It will continue to be delivered at local level here in Cork by Local Development Companies.
Cllr. O’ Shea added “This is part of a national allocation of 250 extra places as announced by the Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty. Overall, this represents an increase of over 28% in the places available under the RSS nationally in the past two years – from 2,600 to 3,350. Since the RSS was launched in 2004, it has delivered a range of positive benefits for both participants and their local communities. The RSS has become a key aspect of community action in many rural areas and is popular with both participants and local sponsors/community groups here in North Cork.
While communities benefit from the skills and talents of local farmers and fishermen, participants also have the opportunity to improve existing skills, or develop new skills, while performing valuable work in here in our local communities. The work carried out under the Scheme helps to support countless sports clubs, community services and rural facilities.
Cllr. O’ Shea added “It is also an important source of extra income to farmers and fishermen who may be working in agriculture or fishing on a part-time basis and who have a low income. It also gives them an opportunity to develop new skills. Participants provide 19.5 hours a week on a local rural or community project in a return for a top-up on their social welfare payments”.
Participants work locally on projects such as caretaking at community and sporting facilities; energy conservation work for the elderly and the less well off; Village and countryside enhancement projects; Social care and care of the elderly such as meals on wheels; Community care for pre-school and after-school groups; Environmental maintenance work such as Tidy Towns project and helping non-profit cultural and heritage centres.
- Participants must be actively farming or fishing with an underlying entitlement to a qualifying DEASP payment, such as Farm Assist, in order to be eligible.
- Most participants receive a weekly payment of €198 a week* (equal to the maximum personal rate on Farm Assist) and an additional €22.50 top-up per week under the Rural Social Scheme.
- Participation is voluntary and is dependent on the availability of vacancies in the relevant locality.
- As this scheme is administered on a local level by Implementing Bodies on behalf of the Department of Social Protection, a person should, in all instances, contact their local Implementing Body for any further information, or for an application form.