Older Farmers In Kircubbin Area Invited To Join Plough On

Plough On provides social opportunities for older farmers in the Kircubbin area

Plough On provides social opportunities for older farmers in the Kircubbin area

Rural Support, supported by DAERA, is excited to announce the commencement of Plough On, an exciting new project which will provide social opportunities for older farmers in rural communities across Northern Ireland.

Keelin McGartland, Plough On Project Co-ordinator with Scott Laidlaw and Ellen Woods, volunteer.

A group for older male farmers (over 65) from Kircubbin and the surrounding areas, will commence on Friday 15th October 2021 from 2.00pm – 4.00pm in Kircubbin Community Centre.

Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, the project will bring groups together for an 18-month programme of meetings and trips, encouraging older men to connect on areas of shared interest such as farming, rural heritage and history.

Rural Support’s Head of Social Farming and Innovation, Dr. Aoibeann Walsh, said: “The Plough On project will provide vital social connections and each group will be supported at a local level to design how the project develops for them.

Elderly farmers in the Kircubbin area are set to benefit from Plough On support scheme.

“We are very grateful to the National Lottery Community Fund for supporting this key development in Rural Support’s delivery for the farming community across all life stages”.

Speaking at the launch of the project at this year’s Balmoral Show on 22nd September, DAERA Minister Poots said: “I am delighted to launch the Plough On project to help older male farmers connect with their peers and get out and about, especially after the increased isolation that Covid19 brought.

“It is excellent to see a project of this sort that delivers a practical way to tackle isolation in rural areas especially for our older farming population”.

If you are interested in taking part or know of someone who would benefit from the Plough On project, please call Rural Support’s office on 028 8676 0040,

or email for more information at:


About Rural Support

Rural Support also provides a listening and signposting service for farmers and farming families across Northern Ireland through its support line. It can also provide face-to-face support, help with sourcing information and advice about a wide range of issues including:

Help with family issues

  • Changing family circumstances such as relationship breakups or bereavement, planning for the future, whether it be making a will or considering retirement, can cause worry and stress.  Having someone to talk to outside of the family can help.
  • Help with health issues

Isolation, loneliness and lack of access to services can lead to feelings of stress and depression.  The Rural Support volunteers understand the challenges and issues facing farmers and farm families. They have experience in helping individuals deal with various issues and providing support in making difficult decisions.

  • The Support Line (0800 138 1678) is available 9am to 9pm, Monday to Friday (voicemail and options available at all other times. Freephone from all UK landlines and mobiles).
  • 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.
  • ‘Across the Hedgerow’ project has been developed and will be delivered by Rural Support in collaboration with Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster. All staff and volunteers are appropriately trained in speaking with vulnerable callers and have passed the appropriate Access NI checks.
  • Rural Support is a registered charity with various income streams from government, philanthropic and corporate support. These include DAERA, Public Health Agency, NFU Charitable Trust, Princes Countryside Fund as well as donations from the general public.
  • PDF version of Coping with the Pressures of Farming booklet available from the Rural Support website: https://www.ruralsupport.org.uk/how-we-can-help/resource-centre/useful-resources/