by Graham Biggs and Nik Harwood Article published at
Recently we’ve been examining the challenges that rural pupils face in accessing further education and training. Since then, the country has faced unprecedented disruption from the coronavirus outbreak. Frontline workers are rightly focusing on saving lives and stemming the spread of the virus. But the crisis has also thrown into the spotlight an issue which we have been campaigning on for years: rural connectivity.
Rural England CIC held its 2nd Annual Rural Vulnerability Day in the Houses of Parliament on 11th February and at the event, launched its latest State of Rural Services Report. The event was hosted by Phillip Dunne MP, Rebecca Pow MP and David Drew MP and the day enabled Parliamentarians and rural interest groups to discuss a number of key issues facing vulnerable people in rural communities, including fuel poverty, safeguarding measures by utility providers, the delivery of affordable housing and improving transport provision.
Cadent and the National Housing Federation sponsored the event and there were a number of presentations focusing on the issues surrounding rural vulnerability.
The State of Rural Services report, which was welcomed at the event by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Lord Gardiner, explores evidence about the provision of eight types of service in rural areas – buses and community transport, broadband and mobile connectivity, library services, hospitals, public health services, young people’s services, shops and online shopping and personal advice services.
Delivering services in rural areas often requires a different approach and the overriding message of the day was that we need to ‘think rural’ in all policy making to ensure that rural residents and communities are not left at a disadvantage.
Philip Dunne, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Rural Services said: “As Chair of the all party group for Rural Services, I was pleased to host the Rural Vulnerability Day in Parliament. “This was an opportunity to bring together rural groups and stakeholders, so we can make a compelling case for pushing rural areas up the agenda for the government, backed by data. “The State of Rural Services 2018 report compiled by Rural England gave clear themes for discussion and debate, and defined areas in which we know the government must do more.”
To download the press release associated with this event click here
State of Rural Services Report 2018:
The Rural England CIC the State of Rural Services 2018 report (published January 2019) presents the most recent evidence regarding the provision of services to residents and businesses in rural England. It covers nine service areas, which are: Local buses and community transport, Broadband and mobile connectivity, Public library services, Hospitals, Public health services, Young people’s services, Shops and online shopping and Personal advice services – To download the summary report click here – To download the full report click here
To download the vulnerability booklet associated with the event click here
All the presentations from the day can be downloaded below:
Since its successful launch in 2017 a Cross House Rural Vulnerability Group of over 50 MPs and Peers has been formed looking to bring focus on rural vulnerability issues. The organisers of the event (Rural England Community Interest Company) continue to undertake fundamental independent rural research on rural issues across England.
Rural England CIC launched the findings from its latest research paper on ‘Issues Facing Providers of Social Care to Older Residents’.
Alongside Rural Services Network, they are aware of the growing concerns about vulnerability felt by some people in rural areas, particularly as reductions in services and support take place. Both organisations wish to see such issues and their impacts properly thought about and planned for. Read more
In this research we examine the issues facing providers of domiciliary care to older people in rural areas. Whilst there has been a considerable amount of recent research about social care, specifically rural dimensions have generally been overlooked Read more