The service seeks to establish awareness of this growing problem with an Annual Rural Vulnerability Day in Parliament and a data base of information relating to specific subjects threatening rural areas- such as rural isolation, poor broadband and fuel poverty. We issue a fortnightly Rural Vulnerability Service bulletins (in combination with the Rural Services Network) updating our members with the latest media information on relevant topics such as rural transport, fuel poverty and broadband news. It has been possible to commence this bulletin scheme with sponsorship from Calor Ltd.
We work with the Water Companies and Energy Companies across England to try to get ahead of what is an increasing problem as the percentage of the rural population above 65 and above 85 is becoming greater each year. This high percentage of older people is already well in excess of the national average and over the next twenty years that percentage will increase still further.
RSN is working with a ‘Rural Vulnerability’ Group of some 50 MPs to ensure parliamentarians are fully briefed and to seek to ensure the situation is given a high profile in terms of parliamentary consideration.
Rural England has already undertaken two areas of research into the rural vulnerability issues. However it would be good to eventually grow some dedicated research capability into this service and to produce more briefing notes quarterly. An additional £12,000 a year would fund a research assistant to give a half day a week to each topic.