The National Rural Conference 2024

The Rural Services Network (RSN) is thrilled to announce the National Rural Conference 2024, taking place from 16th to 19th September. This virtual event, accessible via Zoom, is the premier gathering for senior officers, members, policymakers, and rural service professionals.
Further information and booking details can be found here

Strengthening Rural Economies: Insights from the RSN Seminar

Last week, we hosted an engaging seminar on Rural Economies for our members. This event, featured expert speakers who discussed key issues affecting rural communities in the UK, sparking engaging and insightful discussions among the 77 attendees.

Three key presentations shaped the discourse at the seminar:

  • Generating Good Growth for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Rural Economy by Katie Davey Dalsgaard and Claire Hurley from Cornwall Council. Katie and Claire shared the unique challenges and opportunities in these predominantly rural areas, focusing on sectors such as clean energy, geo-resources, and the visitor economy, underlining the region’s potential to lead in the UK's green industrial revolution.

  • Statistical Digest of Rural England presented by Sarah Harriss and Beth Kerwin from the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra). This session offered a deep dive into various statistics highlighting disparities between rural and urban areas, touching upon issues like employment rates, business diversity, and innovation.

  • Government Plans for Local Growth by Nick Humfrey from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, outlined the evolving framework for economic strategy and business engagement across England's rural landscapes, focusing on post-Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) geographies and devolution strategies.

The seminar facilitated a dynamic exchange of ideas, particularly during the Q&A session. Delegates posed thoughtful questions about rural isolation, the impact of transport on rural development, and strategies for enhancing local economic growth. For instance, a discussion on data availability for studying the impact of rural isolation highlighted gaps in current research but also pointed to existing data sets that could offer insights.

The Rural Economies seminar has not only provided a platform for sharing knowledge and best practices but also strengthened the network among those dedicated to enhancing rural life in the UK. It is hoped that the insights gained here will contribute to shaping future policies and initiatives aimed at fostering sustainable growth in rural areas.

Our next event will be held on 22 May and is focused on Rural Transport. This seminar aims to continue the robust discussions and networking opportunities that are crucial for advancing the interests of rural communities. Our events are free for RSN members, you can find details of all of our events and book your space here.


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