Book your place at the National Rural Conference 2022

If your organisation is a member of the RSN through the SPARSE, Rural Assembly, RSP or RHCA you can book your free place at the National Rural Conference now and join rural specialists to debate key issues.  We have over 600 bookings already so book your place now!

Spotlight on Younger People - July 2018

Tech Funding to combat rural isolation

Organisations are being invited to apply for a share of up to £250,000 to develop technologies that combat rural isolation.  The GovTech Catalyst initiative from Innovate UK aims to support isolated people in rural communities through digital technologies and transport solutions.

£7.5 Million boost for online council services

A new “digital pledge” backed by £7.5m of government funding aims to help councils transform their online services.  The new initiative would change the way councils invest in technology, share expertise and ensure local residents receive the best quality services.  More than 50 local authorities, government departments and other organisations have signed up to the Local Digital Declaration pledge, agreeing a common vision for the future of local services.

Funding halves for supported bus services

Funding for supported buses has been halved in the last eight years, leaving many parts of England and Wales without public transport, according to a new report released by the Campaign for Better Transport.  The Buses in Crisis report reveals that local authority bus budgets in England and Wales were cut by £20.5m last year - the eighth year in a row budgets have been cut.

Councils team up to woo rural youngsters

Two rural councils have teamed up with two national park authorities in a bid to persuade youngsters to continue living in the countryside.  Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund have awarded Craven and South Lakeland District Councils £1.34m for the innovative initiative.  The Great Place: Crossing the Watersheds scheme aims to retain and attract younger people and business to the area by developing more creative and cultural opportunities.

Councils in rural school transport warning

County councils say it is increasingly difficult to fund free school transport for rural pupils because costs are ten times higher than in neighbouring cities.  New analysis from the County Councils Network (CCN) show that the average costs for home to school transport was £93 per rural child in 2017 compared to £10 in cities and towns.  County leaders warn they will have to continue reducing services – with thousands of pupils no longer receiving school transport – unless government recognises this “rural premium”.  Local authorities have called for a ‘fair deal’ for rural areas.

Rural Young People in the NEWS
Free school transport lost for 20,000 rural pupils (24 May 2018)

More than 20,000 children in rural England have lost access to free school transport, say local authorities. (BBC Online)

Rural problems. Changing face of countryside (14 May 2018)

Rural communities face serious challenges on several fronts – including a lack of affordable housing and young people moving away. (Yorkshire Post)

New youth club opens on bus (12 May 2018)

The Highbridge Youth Provision Network is the first of its kind in Sedgemoor and was set up last summer in Somerset. (Weston Mercury)

Addressing the rural demographic time bomb (19 April 18)

DESPITE EVER increasing connectivity in rural areas, maintaining a young workforce within the rural economy is a growing concern. (Scottish Farmer)

Rural Services Partnership feature on UK Youth

We’re pleased that UK Youth are an established member of the Rural Services Partnership and with a history spanning over a century, UK Youth they are a leading national charity committed to ensuring all young people are empowered to build bright futures, regardless of their background or circumstances. They aim to provide all young people with access to appropriate, high quality services in their local community or online. 

They work with young people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland through their Nation Partners: Youth Scotland, Youth Cymru and Youth Action Northern Ireland. The majority of the young people they work with are aged 8-24, primarily from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Around a quarter of their members work with young people in isolated rural or coastal areas. These areas typically have lower social mobility for disadvantaged young people with some isolated areas having no school sixth forms, fewer specialist teachers along with limited higher education options and outreach for employers.

Rural Conference 2018

We are taking bookings for our Rural Conference 2018 which takes place on 4 and 5 September in Cheltenham at the University of Gloucestershire.  This years conference focuses on ‘Delivering Services Differently in Rural Areas’ and has a number of expert speakers lined up to deliver both plenary sessions and workshops.

Tony Travers from the London School of Economics will deliver the keynote speech on ‘Local Government Futures and Innovation’ and the whole event is sponsored by The Post Office. 

Book your place here

The RSN Observatory

The RSN Observatory provides a statistical overview of rural life.  It provides analyses and comment on key service provision and issues affecting rural communities.

It includes information on housing, the economy and local services and also features analysis on Spending on Children and Young Peoples Services.

Housing Survey

As the UK prepares to exit the EU and we look ahead at key challenges and opportunities, there is a great deal of discussion about the future of rural areas, and a core point in these discussions is the basic task of providing homes for people. Housing, its location, quality, accessibility and condition, is something that concerns all of us. 

'Rural England,' working in partnership with the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) wants to hear your views and experiences, to help us better understand housing issues in rural England and to draw together ideas for solutions.  In that way, we can try to make sure that politicians and policies are more informed about what really goes on, and what is needed, at the local level across the country.

We are particularly keen to hear from people under the age of 40 who have been unrepresented in previous surveys.

As a thank you for completing the survey, 'Rural England' is offering an Amazon voucher worth £10 to 10 lucky respondents chosen at random, at the end of the survey period. 

→ Complete the survey here

Analysis and commentary from the RSN
Early Years Childcare in all rural areas

Good childcare provision can help to transform children’s lives. The government is aiming to invest an additional £1 billion every year by 2019-2020 to expand early years provision. Will this funding deliver sustainable provision in rural areas? Jessica Sellick investigates.

The Childcare Act 2016 contains provisions which are intended to secure an additional entitlement of childcare support for working parents. The Act seeks to ensure that parents are able to access information about free childcare and about other provision/services which may help them to meet their childcare needs. It also places a duty on Local Authorities to publish information about childcare and other services available for parents locally. The Government’s overarching intention is to make childcare more affordable for working parents; and to increase the use of formal childcare by parents. What does this mean for rural areas? I offer three points....


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