Countryside is not just for summer

Countryside is not just for summer
14 July 2014 by Richard Quallington, Interim Chief Executive

What a fabulous summer 2014 is turning out to be (unless you are a national sporting hero) and let’s hope it lasts throughout the school holidays.

The countryside is blooming and booming as people flock to the Tour de Yorkshire, Glastonbury, the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford, county shows and so much more.

The increasing popularity of staycations fuelled by economic restraint, boosted by good weather, supplied through idyllic holiday locations and a wealth of outdoor space and activities, has put the rural and coastal economy back on the agenda.

It would be so easy to think that country living is like this all the time, a balmy combination of healthy air, food and lovely country pubs. What could anyone have to complain about?

Well it’s hard to believe that only six months ago families were evacuated due to flooding and a rural Somerset village was commuting in and out on a boat.

The countryside is a fabulous destination because of the millions of people and thousands of communities and businesses that live and work here. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who support people with their daily living needs, covering everything from transport and heating to befriending and digital inclusion.

These communities need support; investment in transport, broadband, housing, access to healthcare and so on so that rural communities can remain viable places to live throughout the year. The payback is there for all to see and not just in the iconic summer sporting events.