Successful Rural Conference

For a full week, the Rural Services Network hosted almost 400 delegates at it’s annual National Rural Conference.  Last week, as an alternative to its usual conference in Cheltenham, the RSN moved the event online, with the theme of Revitalising Rural

The overall event was supported by NICRE, the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise and each day had a specific theme.

  • Monday – Rural Economy day sponsored by Green Energy UK
  • Tuesday – Rural Connectivity Day sponsored by NALC
  • Wednesday – Rural Housing Day sponsored by English Rural Housing
  • Thursday – Rural Environment Day sponsored by Green Energy UK
  • Friday – Rural Health and Wellbeing Day

Councillor Cecilia Motley, Chair of the RSN said:

The contributions of such a wide range of organisations from our local authority and extended membership across rural England reinforces the importance of rural debate and the rural voice. The conference emphasised that rural issues cannot be considered in isolation. The rural economy is interdependent with the provision of affordable housing, rural connectivity, transport and access to health and care services which need to be fairly funded in rural areas.

Rather than attend a whole conference, delegates were able to attend one or more of the individual sessions throughout the week enabling them to focus on a particular specialism, although we did welcome some delegates to every session!

There was a wide range of speakers throughout the week, from Lord Best, the Chair of the Affordable Housing Commission, sharing his views on the current Planning Consultation, to Professor Janet Dwyer talking about Planning for Recession and Recovery: Rethinking the Innovation Agenda, as so many businesses have had to adapt to survive during covid.

The week was a great opportunity for delegates to hear from a wide range of expert speakers, and also the chance to share some of their own views, with the chat function being widely used across the week.  The conference reiterated not only the importance of revitalising rural, so that rural communities are not left behind, in broadband, connectivity and access to key services, but also the potential power of the rural voice, not often brought together in such a way with so many contributors.  The RSN is determined that while those in power look to ‘level up’ the country in the recovery from covid, the potential of rural, when it is fairly funded, is vital and that nuanced policies are required to reflect rural needs and circumstances.

The National Rural Conference 2020 is kindly supported by:

The National Rural Conference 2020 is kindly sponsored by:

Click on each sponsors logo to find out more about the work they do to support rural communities.


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