Rural conference 2017 focuses on New Routes to Economic Growth

For immediate release

Tuesday 13 June 2017

THE need to focus attention on rural economies and new routes to economic growth are the key themes of the Rural Conference 2017.

Speakers at the two-day event include David Goodhart, who will examine the way rural communities voted in last year's EU referendum.

Mr Goodhart's book "The Road to Somewhere" examines reasons for the chasm between progressive and non-progressive society.

The book was described by broadcaster Andrew Marr as "pitch perfect".

Organised by the Rural Services Network, this year's Rural Conference is titled The Infrastructure of Success – New Routes to Rural Economic Growth.

It takes place on 5-6 September at Gloucestershire University's Park Campus, Cheltenham.

Other panel speakers include rural animateur Adrian Banford and rural evidence expert Professor John Shepherd, who developed the government's rural-urban definition.

Also speaking are Professor Sally Shortall of Newcastle University; Charlotte Wright, chief executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise; Bassetlaw District Council rural champion Hazel Brand; and James Derounian of Gloucestershire University.

Rural Services Network assistant chief executive Kerry Booth said the event was particularly aimed at local authorities – and other rural stakeholders.

"Local government is at a pivotal point in its evolution," she said.

"It faces significant budget cuts, a changing political landscape and a different approach to its funding."

Senior officers in finance, community development and rural economic development – as well as senior councillors and officers in rural areas facing challenges related to economic growth – will all find the conference useful.

The event is also aimed at supporting stakeholders across the range of rural sectors, public, private and community.

It will cover issues such as business rates redistribution, rural infrastructure, rural growth and a sustainable approach to rural development.

An early bird booking price is currently available.

Newly elected councillors can claim a 5% discount on top of the early bird price. Delegates can book online by visiting

Editors notes:

[1] The Rural Services Network seeks to provide a voice for rural communities by representing rural services, networking between rural service organisations and establishing and broadcasting best practice in rural service provision.

It comprises SPARSE Rural, the Rural Assembly, the wider Rural Services Partnership and the RSN Community Group. The organisation works with Rural England, a stand-alone CIC research group.

For details, visit

[2] Full conference details, including booking information and a conference programme, are available at

Media contact:

Graham Biggs MBE
RSN chef executive
T: 01588 674 922
M: 07966 790197


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