Almost four fifths of England’s land area is designated rural. One fifth of the population live there. Rural Areas in England have different challenges and problems from the urban centres and merit separate consideration. The Rural England CIC has been established to provide independent evidence based rural research; to identify and promote best practice; and to create networking between rural areas (and the organisations who work on their behalf) across England.
Many rural areas may look idyllic but appearances often hide low wages; isolation; high housing costs; poor and reducing public services; and inadequate broadband and mobile phone connectivity. However, research on deprivation tends to concentrate on urban issues and rural areas do not receive the attention they deserve.
There needs to be an opportunity for an independent service dedicated to giving focus and perspective to rural situations and to rural solutions. We believe such a service could operate through the Rural England CIC at a revenue cost of about £125k a year. We are delighted that some 30 organisations and a group of individuals who were formerly with the Commission for Rural Communities have shown their commitment to the CIC by coming forward in a ‘stakeholder’ role.
Clearly we need financial support. The target figure £125k p.a. is not a massive figure one but it will take some earning. We are therefore seeking an array of commercial organisations prepared to act as ‘supporters’ by each contributing a relatively small amount of just £500 (+ VAT) each year. To reach our goal we need 250 such supporters.
We have identified 12 things we wish to do to build a reasonably comprehensive rural intelligence and research service. We have commenced work in two areas. Details are given under the Reports and Work Being Undertaken Section. Our other 10 aspirations are set out in Ambitions.
We maintain an ‘England Through a ‘Rural Lens’ document to keep all involved updated which can be downloaded here