A vision for a stronger, more resilient future for rural communities.
There are some good ideas out there to help enable the government’s plans to ‘build back better’:
A month ago, the Rural Coalition urged the government “to unlock untapped potential of rural communities and economies”:
And the Plunkett Foundation, which supports rural community businesses, released a report which called on the government to create “meaningful opportunities” for community-led economies and listen to the experiences of communities: it called for more direct investment into the community business sector and the wider infrastructure to support community-led change:
This is from the report:
FOR A COVID-19 RURAL RECOVERY
Looking to the future, communities across the UK will need support to recover from the aftermath of this crisis. We have listened to our members and other stakeholders to explore what they believe is needed for rural communities to recover and what role Plunkett and community businesses might play. Along with measures and initiatives that respond directly to issues such as unemployment and the decimation of the visitor economy, there is also an ideal opportunity to build the resilience of rural communities, and address existing vulnerabilities in the system which were highlighted and exacerbated during the crisis. These findings have led this statement to go beyond a ‘recovery’ in its vision and to look towards a broader ‘rural renaissance’.
Our vision for a stronger, more resilient future for rural communities focuses on five central opportunities:
1. Leading the way in the re-localisation of supply chains, including supply of local food
2. Unleashing the potential to boost employment and training opportunities
3. Enhancing business performance and customer retention through digital technologies
4. Refreshing and diversifying the volunteer network
5. Harnessing positive environmental impact through community business
These pillars of activity fully complement Plunkett’s existing strategy and vision for thriving, resilient and inclusive rural communities. We will be sharing our vision with funders, supporters, members, government departments to garner more support for a rural renaissance with community businesses at its heart. We will also use this vision to underpin and illustrate our responses to wider consultations that affect the growth and national investment in rural communities, both in the wake of Covid-19 as well as shaping the longerterm investment in rural communities at a national level.
We need the support of central and local government, funders and partners to:
1. Create meaningful opportunities to engage with us and listen to the experiences of communities
2. Invest directly into the community business sector
3. Investment in infrastructure support to in turn support community-led change