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MAJOR BOOST TO THE CAMPAIGN FOR A RURAL STRATEGY:
The Independent Food, Farming & Countryside Commission hosted by the RSA in its report launched on Tuesday 16th July ‘Our Future in the Land’ has added its voice to the calls by the RSN and the House of Lords Select Committee for a comprehensive Rural Strategy (more to follow)

Campaign combats winter loneliness

A NEW campaign is helping to combat rural loneliness this winter.

The campaign highlighting ways rural community co-operatives help people overcome loneliness and isolation.

Funded by the English Rural housing association and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the initiative is being run by the Plunkett Foundation.

    See also: 'More help needed for rural shops'

Rural residents are being encouraged to share their news of ways their community co-operative is helping to combat loneliness this winter.

The Plunkett Foundation is especially keen to hear about activities, clubs and services that bring people together to – and how groups make individuals feel welcome and included.

This could include a lunch club or walking group – or a youth cafe.

Transforming lives

Plunkett says it frequently sees first-hand how community co-operatives can transform the lives of people in rural areas.

It wants to share stories of loneliness within a rural community through case study videos and photos to help combat the issue.

People with good stories to tell are being encouraged to email Plunkett with a summary and will then be contacted so the stories can be included in the campaign.

“We are looking for individuals to join us and to get involved by telling us what's going on in your rural community which helps combat loneliness,” says a spokesman.

In particular, we are looking for examples of young people, stay at home parents, home workers and people with long term health issues who have benefitted from a community co-operative.

Respondents

Plunkett says respondents may not be feeling lonely themselves, but may well know of someone in their rural community who is.

It is encouraging people to give an hour of their time to volunteer locally.

This might be by offering to join a neighbour when they’re walking their dog or taking somebody for a cuppa in their community café or a drink at the local pub.

It also suggests organising a quiz night or community lunch in the village hall – or a car sharing trip to the local cinema.

People are then being encouraged to share what they are doing by using the hashtag #thelittlethings on social media.

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