Monday, 26 August 2013 14:54

Pledge follows rural hub closure

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Pledge follows rural hub closure

LOCAL businesses and communities will still receive the backing they need – despite the closure of Staffordshire's Rural Hub, says the county council.

Rural communities and business played an invaluable part in Staffordshire's success, said Gill Heath, cabinet support member for the environment and rural affairs.

They would continue to get the backing they need to thrive.

The recent signing of Staffordshire's Rural Declaration by over 40 organisations and the drawing up of a Rural Strategy would enable people and businesses to enjoy continued success.

This would help to ensure that there were no gaps left as a result of the Rural Hub suspending its activities, said councillor Heath.

Based at Staffordshire County Showground, Staffordshire Rural Hub is a business networking organisation which has organised a number of successful events.

Supported by Staffordshire County Council, it has found it difficult to continue its operation because of reduced core funding from different sources.

Councillor Heath said: "The Rural Hub did an excellent job in bringing rural businesses together, helping them to overcome problems and find ways to achieve success.

"Through the Rural Declaration and Rural Strategy this work can continue. Of course we are sorry to see that the Rural Hub is ceasing its activities, but we must look forward."

The Rural Declaration was signed in March this year following approval by the county council's cabinet in January.

It aims to make better use of the resources of a range of organisations through closer working, shared expertise and avoiding duplication.

It also aims to address issues and challenges rural communities face from connectivity to the impact of development.

The declaration recognised how Staffordshire's rural and urban areas were equally important for the county's vitality, said councillor Heath.

"We have over 40 different organisations involved in the declaration which have the same goals and commitments," she said.

Councillor Heath added that the county council was already supporting rural businesses through its superfast broadband commitment.

It was also backing the community council's bulk oil buying scheme, business loans, county farms programme and using rural companies as suppliers.

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