Older Farmers Enjoy The Plough On Digital Film Sessions

Plough On Groups Enjoy Digital Films of Times Gone By

The Plough On project, delivered by Rural Support aims to tackle rural isolation and increase social opportunities for older male farmers.

It offers participants the chance to connect with other like-minded individuals monthly on areas of shared interest such as farming, rural heritage, and history. 

One activity that has went down extremely well with several Plough On Groups was entertainment from Brónagh McAtasney, Access and Outreach Officer from Northern Ireland Screen (Digital Film Archive).

Brónagh provides archived film clips relevant to the locality that she facilitates her workshops in.

Plough On groups that have taken part in her sessions are Plumbridge, Kilrea, Killead, Hilltown & Rathfriland, Derrynoose and Ballymacbrennan.

The members enjoyed wide ranges of information, yarns, and funny stories relevant to their area and farming.

Brónagh included interesting commentary which brought back many memories for numerous farmers as well as touching on sentimental themes.

Some of the Plough On participants at a meeting in Kircubbin in April 2024.

These sessions really connected the members as a group sharing similar stories, memories, and experiences. Brónagh selected excerpts that were relevant to her audience and supplied interpretation, especially when some extracts did not have sound attached. The men found this extremely helpful and supportive. 

Brónagh McAtasney, Access & Outreach Officer of the Digital Film Archive, said: “We’ve been thrilled to support the Plough On outreach initiative, made possible by the generous support and funding from Rural Support and the National Lottery Community Fund.

“Over the past months, I’ve had the privilege of participating in more than seven events and connecting with over 145 attendees, with many more exciting gatherings on the horizon.

“This initiative allows us to engage directly with our rural community and attract participation from these often-under-represented groups.

“Delivering stories is at the heart of what we do… attendees reconnect with cherished memories with each screening.

“These films unlock a treasure trove of stories, from marts long gone to the first tractors purchased, and sometimes even glimpse an old friend or themselves in the footage. It is a delight to be a part of it all.” 

The archive Brónagh provides is an excellent facility for any organisation that is putting together a programme of events.

The Archive is financed by the Department of Communities and the content customised to the interests of the group. Presentations are free and Brónagh can be contacted at bronagh@northernirelandscreen.co.uk.

Films can also be found for self-education at:


Rural Support thanks Brónagh for all her efforts of putting films together, driving to many Plough On Groups and providing great entertainment for the farmers who took part.

If you would like to find out more, or to support this project and other services and programmes delivered by Rural Support, go to the NI Farm Support hub at:


or telephone the Support Line on Freephone 0800 138 1678 available Monday-Friday 9am-9pm.  


Rural Support was established in 2002 and provides a range of services for farmers and farming families across Northern Ireland including a support line. It also provides face to face support through its mentoring programme, help with sourcing information and advice about a wide range of issues:

Rural Support co-ordinates the Social Farming Support Service for Northern Ireland, funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

Rural Support provides free business, financial and technical mentoring from its dedicated team. It also runs a series of training workshops under the Princes’ Countryside Fund Resilience Programme and delivers ‘Coping with the Pressures of Farming’ under the CAFRE Family Farm Key Skills Programme.

And Life Beyond is a joint programme between Rural Support, Northern Ireland and Embrace FARM, Republic of Ireland.

It provides practical business, financial and technical mentoring support to farming families who have experienced loss – whether through bereavement or survival from a farm accident. It also provides counselling and trauma support in the form of one-to-one mentoring and peer-to-peer group support.

Also, ‘Across the Hedgerow’ is a befriending scheme for lonely and isolated people from farming families and is delivered by Rural Support.

Plough On is a social connection project for older farmers who are isolated and lonely and is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.