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, homes that people can afford and employment opportunities – problems made worse by poor connectivity to other areas. This can make life difficult, especially for people who already suffer other forms of disadvantage.
The needs of rural communities have tended to be overlooked by successive governments. It has been a long while since any administration overtly committed to rural development and more often than not, new legislation and policies miss the mark in terms of assessing their impact on the rural population. This ‘rural blindness’ can have a profound impact for the people who live and work in the countryside and limit the opportunities open to them.