Recharging Rural - Research into Rural Communities

The Prince’s Countryside Fund has announced funding of research into rural communities with Scotland’s Rural College.

‘Recharging Rural’ will look into the sustainability of rural communities across the UK.

Scalpay Western Isles

Scalpay Western Isles

The Prince’s Countryside Fund has appointed Professor Sarah Skerratt of SRUC to conduct research into the sustainability of rural communities across the UK, entitled Recharging Rural.

The final report will aim to make recommendations for rural communities in sparsely populated areas across the UK to enhance their self-sufficiency, viability, and resilience, into 2030 and beyond.

Professor Skerratt is to look at the challenges currently faced by rural communities, as well as those which could arise in the future, with a 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, as well as casting the net as wide as possible through a Call for Evidence in February/March 2018.

Professor Skerratt said:
“I am thrilled to have been selected to work with The Prince’s Countryside Fund to deliver this critically important piece of research, which will raise awareness of how rural communities in the UK’s sparsely populated areas are addressing their particular challenges. We will highlight what appears critical to supporting resilient rural communities. We will make specific recommendations for action to work against social and economic isolation, plus indicate pathways for future policy consideration.

Support for rural communities

“What makes this research particularly exciting is that, while it will deliver an increased, shared understanding across Wales, Northern Ireland, England and Scotland, it will also 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.”

Claire Saunders, Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund, said:
“Since HRH The Prince of Wales set up the Fund in 2010, we have worked in many ways to support rural communities and businesses, from our grant programme giving out over £1.2 million each year, to our direct delivery initiatives such as The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme.

“We have learnt that many of the challenges facing rural communities are specific, and solutions applied to aid social cohesion in urban areas are not always replicable here. We are delighted to be working with Professor Skerratt and the team at SRUC, and look forward to this research producing tangible, practical solutions to help address some of the thorny issues facing the people who live and work in the British countryside.”

The research will be published in July, to coincide with The Prince’s Countryside Fund’s annual awareness campaign National Countryside Week, Monday 30th July through to Sunday 5th August 2018.


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