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December 18, 2013

New face of Rural Parliament

Come the New Year, if you live in rural parts, you’ll be hearing a lot more about the build up to Scotland’s first Rural Parliament. Scheduled to take place in November, a final decision on a date and a venue top the to-do list.  An advisory forum is being established involving as many of the key stakeholders as possible, to act as a sounding board for the organisers – probably meeting a couple of times before the main event. The Rural Parliament’s new coordinator, Emma Cooper, takes up post after Christmas.


Scottish Rural Action

Scotland’s first Rural Parliament has moved a step closer with the appointment of a Coordinator to oversee the organisation of the inaugural event.

Scottish Rural Action, the group set up to manage the process, has appointed Emma Cooper (pictured) an experienced organisation manager and community worker who lives on the Island of Bute, to take forward the plans which were announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs earlier this year.

This will be the first Rural Parliament for Scotland and will be modelled on Rural Parliaments which have been taking place across Europe for the last 20 years. Ministers said that the Rural Parliament will “empower Scotland’s rural communities by bringing people and policy makers together to look at improving policies and actions that address rural issues.”

Ms Cooper was appointed by Scottish Rural Action, the group responsible for developing and organising the Scottish Rural Parliament. Scottish Rural Action’s board comprises representatives from organisations working with rural communities across Scotland including Scottish Community Alliance, Community Land Scotland, Development Trust Association Scotland, Community Woodlands Association and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

Ms Cooper is currently working for Bute Forest Ltd which manages community-owned land on the Isle of Bute and for which she was short-listed for the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Environment Award earlier this year.

Ms Cooper said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the people of rural Scotland to have a real voice in policy development and to work with decision-makers in considering the challenges that face our rural communities. The model has been successful elsewhere in Europe and we hope that the project will stimulate similar levels of community empowerment here in Scotland.”

John Hutchison, chair of Scottish Rural Action said: “Creating Scotland’s Rural Parliament is a great privilege for those who have the responsibility to make it happen.  We look forward to welcoming Emma to the team in January, with her enthusiasm, drive and track record.”

You can see our previous coverage of the road to the Rural Parliament here.