Plunkett Foundation fully supports Rural Services Network (RSN) call on Government to ‘rural proof’ policies before Brexit.
The RSN, of which Plunkett Foundation is a member, have today (1 March 2019) launched a campaign calling on the Government to take urgent action to support and sustain the delivery of key services in rural areas. Plunkett Foundation supports the call for future policies and decisions about the distribution of funding to be ‘rural proofed’ for those living in the countryside; as this will address the loss of funding for rural businesses from 2020, ensure rural transport is sustained and support the older rural demographic to live independently.
Plunkett has been a member of the RSN since 2017 and enjoys a strong working partnership relationship through our membership of the Rural Coalition. This report resonates with our experience of working with rural communities, and outlines a number of key areas which we are working toward as part of our five-year strategy for 2018-2022. James Alcock, Executive Director at Plunkett Foundation, said:
“Today’s call to Government by the Rural Services Network resonates with our own experience of supporting rural communities for the last 100 years. For too long, the needs of rural communities have been under considered by policy makers and they have been neglected by the policies and initiatives coming out of central and local government. The RSN’s call for a rural strategy will ensure government recognise the unique challenges faced by rural areas, and take their needs into account when national policy or funding decisions are made. Plunkett represents the interests of almost 600 rural community businesses who are tackling issues relating to poor service provision, inadequate public transport, lack of affordable housing, limited opportunity for work, training or social interaction. They have, in the main, been set up largely independently with little support or involvement from government. Our experience demonstrates that the community business has potential to grow to the benefit of even more rural communities. We are working with a further 400 groups in the process of setting up their business, and whose journey could be accelerated with greater national leadership and supportive policies and funding strategies. We believe a national Rural Strategy would help to achieve this.“
We are proud to have supported almost 600 community businesses to reach trading stage across the UK. In addition to developing and safeguarding valuable assets and services, these community businesses address a range of issues including isolation, loneliness, wellbeing, work and training. Below are a number of case studies we have selected highlighting the importance of today’s call to Government:
The full Rural Services Network report can be found on their website here.