Monday, 18 December 2017 11:23

Prince's fund plans rural research

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Prince's fund plans rural research

The Prince’s Countryside Fund has announced a major project examining the sustainability of rural communities.

It has appointed Professor Sarah Skerratt of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) to conduct research into the sustainability of rural communities across the UK.

Called Recharging Rural, the final report from the project will make recommendations for rural communities in sparsely populated areas.

They will seek to enhance their self-sufficiency, viability, and resilience, into 2030 and beyond.

    See also: Prince's fund to help family farms

Professor Skerratt will look at the challenges currently faced by rural communities, as well as those which could arise in the future.

She will focus on communities that are currently not engaged in ‘empowerment frameworks’.

The research will seek views from stakeholders via workshops in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England.

It will cast the net as wide as possible through a Call for Evidence in February or March 2018.

  'Critically important'

Describing the research as critically important, Professor Skerratt said it would raise awareness of how sparesely populated rural communities were addressing their particular challenges.

"We will highlight what appears critical to supporting resilient rural communities," she said.

"We will make specific recommendations for action to work against social and economic isolation, plus indicate pathways for future policy consideration."

Prof Skerratt said the research would assist the strategic approach of the Prince’s Countryside Fund to plan and deliver its future support to rural communities for years to come.

"I therefore feel immensely privileged to have this opportunity to work with people across the UK to identify ways forward into 2030 and beyond."

  Rural support

Prince’s Countryside Fund director Claire Saunders said the fund had worked in many ways to support rural communities and businesses since it was established in 2010.

She said: "Many of the challenges facing rural communities are specific, and solutions applied to aid social cohesion in urban areas are not always replicable here."

The fund looked forward to the research producing tangible, practical solutions to help address some of the thorny issues facing rural people.

If all goes to plan, the research will be published in July 2018, to coincide with National Countryside Week (30 July to 5 August 2018).

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