The Rural Social Scheme is a part time employment scheme for ELIGIBLE FARMERS working a 19.5 hour week.

The Rural Social Scheme was set up in 2004 to provide income support for low income farmers in return for part time work in the community.

It is based on a 19.5 hour flexible week to ensure your participation does not affect your farming activities.

Click here to see more information on The Rural Social Scheme


The Rural Social Scheme aims to provide income support for farmers who are in receipt of long-term social welfare payments, and to provide certain services of benefit to rural communities.


The Rural Social Scheme in County Kildare currently employs 27 participants and 1 supervisor. The majority of RSS participants on the scheme in Kildare are involved in environmental maintenance with sports clubs and local community groups.

Click here to see the RSS Case Study.

Click here for more information.

Click here to view the Rural Social Scheme Leaflet.

  • To qualify for the scheme, you must be in receipt of a means tested social welfare payment and provide proof that you are actively farming.
  • If you are eligible and do not wish to participate on the RSS, your dependant spouse/civil partner/cohabitant can apply in your place.
  • You may also permit a sibling or child to use your Herd Number to participate, once they satisfy the other criteria.

You must provide a copy of your application for the EU Basic payment for the current year, including a valid active herd number.

You must be in receipt of Farm Assist or one of the following qualifying Social Welfare/ Means Tested Payments:

  • Job Seekers Allowance
  • One- Parent Family Payment
  • Jobseekers Transitional Payment
  • Widow(er)’s Pension ( Contributory or Non- Contributory)
  • Adult Dependants of Non-Contributory Old Age Pensioners who themselves are under 66.

Rates of payment depend on your qualifying Social Welfare Payment. Your Local Supervisor/ Coordinator will advise you of your rates at time of application.

A PRSI contribution ( Class A) is paid in respect of each participant. Those earning less than €352 per week will not be subject to PRSI.

Participants are exempt from USC.

  • Maintaining and enhancing way marked ways, agreed walks and bog roads
  • Energy Conservation for the elderly and less well off
  • Village and Countryside enhancement projects
  • Social Care and Care of the Older Person
  • Community Care for 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 or Clerical Work

County KILDARE Leader Partnership play the lead role in identifying organisations to provide RSS placement opportunities.

Those organisations eligible to participate must be:

  • Community Voluntary and not for profit in nature, and
  • Have a recognised informal ( parish/ community committee, trade. Sporting, cultural or association) or formal/legal structure ( a company limited by guarantee, not for profit cooperative or friendly society where profits or surpluses are not distributed to members and
  • Demonstrate a capability of managing a participant in a place with the supervisory support of the implementing Body.

Currently there are 27 participants on the Rural Social Scheme dispersed throughout the county.


If you want to apply as a community group please download the form here:

Community Group Application Form 2023-2024

If you are interested in participating on the Rural Social Scheme

or are a community group looking for a participant please contact our Co-Ordinator:

Suzanne Wallace,

County Kildare Leader Partnership CLG., Kildare Community Development Centre, Meadow Road,  Kildare Town, Co Kildare R51 RF88.

Suzanne Wallace

RSS Co-Ordinator

Suzanne Wallace