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October 24, 2012

Future directions for rural communities

In 2007, Carnegie UK published the results of a three year research project – A Charter for Rural Communities – which identified some key challenges for rural communities. Five years on, and much has changed. Although the legacy of the economic crisis continues to dominate, many other factors have a part to play that mean the issues for rural Scotland, for Government in particular, are very different today.  A recent report commissioned by Carnegie UK proposes a new route map for rural communities.


Jennifer Wallace 

It is now five years, since the Trust published ‘A Charter for Rural Communities’, our comprehensive review of the challenges and opportunities facing rural communities in the UK and Ireland. Much has changed in this time – rural demographics have shifted and we are facing severe financial and environmental challenges. At the same time technological advances have continued apace and there are new opportunities for communities to manage local assets and shape the way public services are delivered.

Our new report ‘Future Directions in Rural Development’ written by Professor Shucksmith sets out this changed rural landscape and reviews the varying success of different approaches to rural development. 

‘Future Directions in Rural Development – Executive Summary’ identifies the risks of leaving unequal rural communities to their own devices and the importance of an ‘enabling state’ supporting communities to reach their full potential. 

It draws out some of the key issues facing rural communities in the 21st Century.  These issues: access to broadband, digital participation, the importance of local enterprise, community ownership and a more ‘enabling state’.  These are recurring themes in the Trust’s work and are key policy areas that the Trust is focused.

The conclusions of the review are that a supportive and responsive government is required at a UK, devolved and local level. Action on all of these levels is needed to: address regional level inequalities; build capacity in local communities, and mitigate against any unintended consequences of macro level policies at a local level.

The full report will be published online in September 2012 and made available here