About EDRCN..

East Down Rural Community Network is a voluntary umbrella body set up and managed by community groups in Down District and Ards Borough Council Areas.

Our Vision Statement

East Down Rural Community Network is committed to an inclusive future where all citizens actively participate in local life, helping each other to create a healthy, peaceful, vibrant & sustainable society

Our Mission Statement

East Down Rural Community Network supports and services its member groups and others to ensure a strong community input to the social, environmental and economic life of East Down.

Strategic Aims:

Aim 1 – Empowering the voice of rural communities

Aim 2 – Championing excellence in rural community development

Aim 3 – Developing civic leadership in rural communities

Aim 4 – Actively working towards an equitable and peaceful society

Aim 5 – Promoting the sustainable development of rural communities

Our legal status

EDRCN is a registered as a charity (No. XR38257) and a company limited by guarantee (No. NI42835).

Community Development workers from EDRCN formed the Peninsula Community Network after working closely with several community groups from villages along the length of the Ards Peninsula.  It is a forum designed to allow groups to share information on common issues affecting rural life.  The meetings are hosted by each of the organisations involved on a rotating basis and are Chaired by either Frances Hughes, or Sandra Henderson from EDRCN, both of whom were responsible for the creation of PCN.  Short bios on Frances and Sandra, and EDRCN Network Manager Nicholas McCrickard can be found below.


Frances Hughes

Frances joined EDRCN in May 2007 as a Rural Development Officer working with community organisations across Ards and Down. As well as providing a variety of support to groups to develop good working practices, she also works across organisations and with a range of outside agencies to develop projects that benefit targeted local groups. Frances has a BA Honours Degree in Humanities from Queen’s University, as well as a Certificate in Community Relations from the University of Ulster. She joined the Team following a short stint working as Development Officer with the Arts Council of NI, Re-imaging Communities Programme, prior to that Frances worked for Rural Community Network as the Local Project Officer in the Rural Community Estates Programme in Ards for 4½ years.

Sandra Henderson

Sandra was appointed as an Information Officer for the Ards office in 2005. She provides information and support to local community groups, agencies and individuals in rural Ards. In September 2007 she was seconded to the post of Community Development Officer working with the communities of Ballyhalbert, Ballywalter, Kircubbin and Portavogie. She facilitated the development of a sustainable grass roots infrastructure in these villages. Sandra helped establish the Peninsula Community Network of community groups from the Ards Peninsula. She will continue to coordinate and support this network.

Nicholas McCrickard – EDRCN Network Manager

Nicholas has worked for the Network since its formation and is now the Senior Development Officer and Manager of the organisation. As a result of a Network contract he also manages the Ballymote Shopping and Community Centre, which houses the Network office. Married with 5 children, Nicholas had a background in commercial management before becoming Project Manager for Castlewellan Regeneration in the early 90’s. He has participated in many voluntary committees over the years including Down Strategy Partnership, Credit Union, Down Community Transport, Mourne Heritage Trust and many others.

As well as staff from EDRCN a number of the organisations board members, who also serve on community groups based in the peninsula, are involved in PCN.

David Cole-Baker – Greyabbey Regeneration
David is a new Director of EDRCN and brings years of volunteer experience with Greyabbey Community Association to bear.  His professional life with the N.I Housing Executive gives the Board, and local groups, a great depth of knowledge from which to draw.

Jane Smith – Vice Chairperson, Cloughey & District Community Association
Jane has served on the EDRCN for a couple of years, and has stimulated the organisation with her enthusiasm.  Along with her neighbours in Cloughey she was a founder member of that Community Association and has introduced several great projects where nothing previously happened.

Nick Moore – Chair of EDRCN

Nick is the current Chair of EDRCN, and is also Chair of the new community group Ballyhalbert Heritage & Regeneration Group.  Nick has several years experience working with community groups and is also a member of Greyabbey & District Community & Police Liaison Committee.  Nick has worked in the science sector for 19 years and operates a number of web based enterprises through his technology company Utopia Futura.

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