Friday, 28 March 2008 09:22

Film study highlights plight of rural poor

Written by  Ruralcity Media
AN innovative multi-media study is highlighting the plight of rural people struggling to survive on low incomes.

Film-makers from the Rural Media Company used video cameras to document the lives and experiences of ordinary rural people.

Poverty is often hidden from policymakers
The film set out to challenge the popular perception of the rural idyll.

Testimonies from the Show and Tell project include people speaking about life without anywhere to live, without jobs and without public transport.

Findings were unveiled at a special presentation by the Commission for Rural Communities at the Bishop’s Palace, Hereford, on Wednesday (26 March).

More than one million rural people are living in poverty, according to a commission report published earlier this month.

Living on a low income is a problem as well as a difficult and sensitive subject, especially in isolated rural areas, where everyone knows everyone.

But the film manages to highlight problems experienced behind closed doors and often hidden from policymakers.

Some 80 local agencies were approached over the course of a year and 60 people spoke to fieldworkers.

Questions asked included: “If you could speak directly to people in power, what things would you tell them would make your life better?”

Experts from Bristol University’s School of Policy Studies are now analysing the video testimony to identify the main issues faced by less well-off rural people.

They also hope to determine whether rural living affects the causes of poverty and prospects for escaping it.

The project was supported by the Big Lottery Fund. A summary report and DVD containing selections of the video testimony will be published by the Rural Media Company on 31 March.

                 See also
                            Government policies 'doomed to failure (15 March 2008)
                            One million rural people 'living in poverty' (3 March 2008)
Fund helps fight rural fuel poverty (5 November 2007)
Report: give rural people more power (13 June 2007)

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