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Rural Respecting Difference Programme Guidance for Applicants

Published on: 03/07/2018

The Rural Development Council (RDC) in partnership with Early Years and the National Childhood Network are delighted to be able to accept applications to the Rural Respecting Difference Programme.

The following offers some guidance for applicants and should be read in conjunction with the Programme leaflet.


To be eligible to apply, your setting must comply with the following:
✓ Setting is a pre-school, daycare or afterschools facility targeting 2-12 year olds;
✓ Setting is located in a rural area – for the purposes of this Programme, ‘rural’ is defined as ‘any area with a population of less than 10,000’. Settings located in areas where populations are greater than 10,000 (excluding Belfast and Derry/Londonderry) are eligible to apply if they can demonstrate they are serving a rural catchment.
✓ Setting has not (either currently or previously) benefited from either:
o The Sharing from the Start Programme (Northern Ireland and 6 Southern border counties)
o The Shared Education Signature Project (Northern Ireland)
o The pilot Rural Respecting Difference Programme

In the event of oversubscription to the Programme, priority will be given to those settings that best ensure a balanced approach in terms of settlement size, geography, community background and type of setting.

Level of Commitment:
The programme involves the following:

  • Attendance by staff/leaders at introductory training (3 full days)
  • Attendance by staff/leaders at follow up training (1 full day)
  • Workshops targeting parents/carers (2 x 2-3 hours)
  • Workshops targeting management committees (1 x 2 hour)
  • 5 support visits from Early Years Specialists
  • Attendance at networking seminars (at least 1 seminar)

Please consider the level of commitment before applying to the Programme

Shared Projects:
Following successful involvement in the Programme, settings could potentially participate in a shared project with another setting on the Programme. A small level of funding (circa £1000 / €1250) would be available to complete each project. This project would seek to reinforce the cross community / cross border nature of the Programme. Further information will be provided to successful applicants at a later stage.

Applying to the Programme:
If your setting meets the eligibility criteria and is interested in applying to the Programme, please complete an application form and return by the deadline. An electronic version of the form is available by emailing

The short application form asks for further information on your setting, the children who use your setting and why you would like to secure a place on the Programme. Please complete as fully as you can. Some things to note in relation to the application form:

  • Please ensure the contact person named is contactable over the summer months and is aware of the project.
  • Section 4 of the application form asks for the religious breakdown of children using your facility. This is for completion by settings both in NI and the 6 Southern Border Counties. Please state an actual figure if you collate the data or a perceived figure if you do not.
  • The form must be signed by two people from the setting (one of whom should be the owner / management committee member).

Application forms can either be returned by post or email. Please remember that if returning via email the form still needs to include original signatures.

Application form available here >>

If interested in applying, please complete the application form and return to:
Joyce McMullan, Programme Officer,
Rural Development Council,
17 Loy Street, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, BT80 8PZ,
T: +44 (0)28 8676 6980,

Deadline for receipt of applications is Thursday 19 July 2018 at 5:00pm.

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