Rural communities in developed countries such as Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland have experienced profound challenges over the past three decades. The social fabric of rural communities in these countries has been and will continue to be affected by global and local processes that compound poverty and exclusion. The paper then asks, given this social exclusion and poverty how can social inclusion be achieved for these rural communities? Drawing on the experiences in North Eastern United States, the Scottish Highlands, Ireland and Northern England the paper examines how communities, particularly through the third sector, are responding to this crisis. What are the opportunities and challenges to creating social inclusive, vibrant and sustainable rural communities in developed countries?