Many people think of the countryside as an idyllic place to live, characterised by beautiful landscapes where people live happier, healthier lives. However, living in rural areas has its challenges.
Rural communities often lack basic services such as health and education, homes that people can afford and employment opportunities – problems made worse by poor connectivity to other areas. This can limit opportunities for younger people who wish to stay in the area and compound disadvantage experienced by others who are already more vulnerable because of their individual circumstances.
ACRE members support various rural community initiatives that seek to create opportunities for younger people and other people who need a helping hand.
Many initiatives focus on connecting rural people up with opportunities that already exist. For example, the ACRE Network has been instrumental in supporting Wheels to Work Schemes that have provided young people with the chance to hop on a scooter and get to places of work or simply visit family and friends.
Other projects and programmes supported by ACRE members create new opportunities where there are none. This can involve upskilling people, triggering new interests, or supporting new community groups to set up and tackle local issues.
As part of our national advocacy, we scrutinise policy developments and make recommendations to government to make sure that wherever young people are growing up in England, they will have the fair access to a world class education, access to wider personal development opportunities, choice in post-16 education and avenues for local employment.
Specifically, we are calling on government to:
Invest in a comprehensive rural transport network, including flexible and innovative schemes such as Wheels to Work and Education so people can get to where they need to be
Spur on growth of employment and housing in rural communities, particularly for younger people
ACRE Network Case Study Derbyshire Wheels to Work
Hear from those involved in Wheels to Work; an initiative of ACRE Network member Rural Action Derbyshire helping rural residents into employment by providing an affordable and flexible means of personal transport.