For many children and young people, the ‘rural idyll’ of living in the countryside is far from reality. There are no cinemas, clubs, or other facilities their counterparts in urban areas take for granted. This isolation from services is often made worse by a lack of transport options and hidden poverty.
If a community is to be truly sustainable, vibrant and equitable, it needs young people to not move away to access services such as education, training, employment, sports and recreation and a wider social life.
These younger residents can, and should, be a determining factor in the future character of their communities. There is a real danger of communities becoming unbalanced if the population is skewed towards an older demographic.
Where practicable and affordable, ACRE would like to see considerably improved affordable transport services that work for children and young people. Young people will not then need to rely on parents and more expensive and higher CO2 emitting cars.
Rural bus services have seen substantial cuts during these times of austerity. The main option taking up this ‘slack’ is community transport. These initiatives require more support to enable them to become more sustainable, with less need for subsidies.
Children and young people should have the option to access age specific and general services in ways that meets both their and their families’ or carers’ needs.
Using a planned approach, the ACRE Network helps communities to develop an appropriate range of accessible services and facilities that enable children, young people and families to meet their needs and aspirations.