A countryside where everyone thrives2024-05-15T15:00:05+00:00

A countryside where everyone thrives

Everyone should be able to thrive in the countryside. But we know some people, especially those growing up in rural communities, need extra support.

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.

We want the government to better account for the fact that disadvantage can be compounded by living in the countryside. This requires policy makers to take a more proactive approach to rural proofing. Developing more refined measures of multiple deprivation that pinpoints more dispersed poverty would help with this.

Sometimes interventions that address the needs of particularly vulnerable people in rural communities are also required. For example, we campaigned for off gas grid households to receive additional protection as energy prices went through the roof. Ands we are also interested to see how demand responsive transport services could be deployed in the countryside to provide a lifeline to those needing to get to jobs and doctors appointments who don’t have access to a private car.

View our specific policy recommendations for the next government here.

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.