Jude McCann  -  Protecting the Farms Greatest Asset: Increasing Resilience and Knowledge Transfer

Thomas Henry Foundation

For over four years now, I have been privileged to work as Chief Executive for Rural Support in Northern Ireland. Established as a charity in 2002, Rural Support is a regional charity providing support to farmers, farm families and rural dwellers across the province. I am honored to be working for such a great organisation and with an excellent team of staff, mentors and volunteers. I currently sit on a number of steering committees including an initiative called 'Farm Family Health Checks' and a group of statutory and community/voluntary sector organisations called 'Suicide Strategy Implementation Body' of which I am vice-chair.

I grew up on the family farm in Mid-Ulster and later chose to study Geography at the University of Ulster Coleraine followed by a Masters in Communication at Loughry College Cookstown. I lived and worked in New Zealand for a few years before returning home to study. In 2008, I completed my PhD with Queen’s University Belfast examining ‘Rural Restructuring and Information Systems’. After completing this research, I worked in international aid and development and then returned to Northern Ireland to work on a social justice programme with the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland.  

Having built a house on the family farm two years ago, much of my spare time now involves helping my father on the farm and spending time with my family.  I am delighted to have been sponsored by the Thomas Henry Foundation and I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity. I look forward to the adventures ahead.