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RSS Rural Social Scheme (RSS)

RSS was first introduced in 2003. The aims of the RSS are to provide income and support for farmers and fisherpersons who are currently in receipt of Social Welfare payments, and to provide certain services of benefit 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 Department of Social Protection, it is managed in Westmeath by WCD.

Number of places and Locations

2,600 places nationwide,

33 in County Westmeath

Who is eligible?

Participants on Farm Assist

or who have a herd number and be in receipt of one of the following long-term Social Welfare payments

Jobseekers Allowance

Jobseekers Benefit, if previously on CE

Disability Allowance

Terms of the RSS

Participants will work 19.5 hours per week and the scheme will be administered in a farmer-friendly manner. Participants can work their hours in a flexible way e.g., week on/week off, but this flexibility will at all times be subject to the requirements of the project they are working on.

What work will be undertaken?

All of the work undertaken while participating on the RSS will be beneficial to the local community. The types of projects carried out under RSS include:

  • Maintaining and enhancing waymarked ways, agreed walks and bog roads
  • Energy conservation work for the elderly and the less well off
  • Village and countryside enhancement projects
  • Social care and care of 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
  • Community Administration/Clerical duties
  • Any other appropriate community project identified during the course of the Scheme

For further information on RSS contact Tony McCormack, tmccormack@westcd.ie or 044 93 48571.

Farm Family/Smallholders Initiative

The purpose of the farm family/smallholders initiative is to provide advice and support for low income smallholders in order to help them increase their incomes and improve their personal circumstances.

This will be achieved through:

  • One to one advice
  • Group training

What we do

  • Improve on-farm efficiency
  • Protect the single farm payment and avail of other schemes and incentives
  • Secure off-farm employment to supplement family income
  • Develop new business ideas
  • Maximise income from supports such as social welfare
  • Improve living conditions and quality of life
  • Working with communities and agencies to promote equality of access and the tailoring of services to respond to clients needs.

For more information about the initiative in County Westmeath, contact RSS Supervisors:

- Tony McCormack 044 93 48571

- Majella Boyhan 087 - 2127239 / 044 93 48571

The Office @ Westmeath Community Development at 044 93 48571. 

pdfClick here for RSS Brochure.

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