A UK group has been set up where rural academic organisations from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can come together and discuss current issues. With the devolution that has occurred and the establishment of differing systems through different Assemblies and Parliaments, there is a lot that can be learnt by comparing and contrasting on a UK wide basis.
The UKRPPR group has established has four academic convenors:- Janet Dwyer (Gloucestershire), Ruth McAreavey (Queens Belfast), Jane Atterton (Scotland’s Rural College ) and Paul Milbourne (Cardiff University). Brian Wilson of the RSN is the overall convenor.
It currently involves at this time some 50 organisations across the UK. It is similarly hoped to involve all UK local authorities in some survey work at some stage. This is an ambitious project but of considerable merit if it could be underpinned.
The group has already held a series of meetings, and will now work as part of Rural England with a joint meeting in December. It has already proved useful and there appears to be clear potential for rural organisations across the UK to link in this way. To develop this work area fully there is a need for a ‘coordinator’; perhaps working one day a week to structure its activities costing approximately £10k per annum.