The Rural Services Network is a membership organisation devoted to safeguarding and improving services in rural communities across England.
Already 200 organisations across the complete range of rural services are in membership, including local authorities, public bodies, businesses, charities and voluntary groups across the spectrum of rural service provision.
We are the only national network specifically focusing on this vital aspect of rural life.
The network has three main purposes:
- Representing the case for a better deal for rural service provision
- Exchanging useful and relevant information
- Developing and sharing best practice
The Rural Services Network exists to ensure services delivered to the communities of predominantly and significantly rural* England are as strong and as effective as possible.
We have four main membership categories:
The first category is SPARSE Rural, a grouping of over 110 of the most rural county, district and unitary councils in England (as identified by Government through their Predominately Rural and Significant Rural Council Classifications).
The Rural Services Partnership consists of over 100 of service providers, customer bodies and national rural organisations. It includes Police, Fire, Health, Housing, Educational, Business and Transport organisations.
The Rural Services Community comprises of over 10,000 locality organisations who have agreed to be local community members and work with the main network.
To join now and become part of a national network devoted to looking at English rural issues, to sharing experiences and lobbying government to recognise the increased costs and complexity of rural service delivery, please click here.
This website has been developed in conjunction with the two operating arms of the network: the Sparsity Partnership for Authorities Delivering Rural Services (SPARSE Rural) and the Rural Services Partnership.
*The term 'predominately rural' refers to counties and Local Authority districts with at least 50 percent of their population living in rural settlements (ie. rural towns, villages, hamlets and dispersed dwellings) as identified in the Office for National Statistics' rural definition, and including larger market towns as identified in the Defra classification of Local Authority districts. The term ' significant rural' refers to those Local Authorities who are between 25% and 50% rural under the same classification. The rural definition and classification were devised by the Rural Evidence Research Centre (RERC) at Birkbeck College. Further information on these can be found on the RERC website at www.rerc.ac.uk