June 28, 2017
Big boost for Scottish Rural Action
Those with long memories may remember the demise of Rural Forum in 1999. Many argued at the time that rural Scotland and in particular rural communities, had lost an important and distinctive voice within the policy arena. That’s probably why it wasn’t long before a few key activists started to agitate for something else to fill the gap. It may have taken longer than they would have wanted, and it’s not Rural Forum 2.0, but there’s no doubt Scottish Rural Action has been well supported by Scottish Government since 2014. A big announcement from the Cabinet Secretary last week.
Rural communities will have a stronger voice thanks to funding for the Rural Parliament announced by Environment and Land Reform Secretary Roseanna Cunningham.
The £200,000 funding for Scottish Rural Action (SRA) will support delivery of their 2017–19 Action Plan, which contains five policy areas debated and chosen by rural communities at the 2016 Rural Parliament in Brechin.
Speaking at the Royal Highland Show, Ms Cunningham said:
“The two Scottish Rural Parliament events to date have been successful in giving our rural communities a stronger voice. To help foster this further, I am delighted to be able to demonstrate our continued support by confirming a further £200,000 to Scottish Rural Action.
“This will support the development of an inclusive and sustainable rural movement that is rooted in Scotland’s rural communities and help support the organisation of a third Rural Parliament in 2018.
“It has been encouraging to see the progress that SRA has made since its inception in 2014, and I look forward to hearing about further successes in the future.”
Amanda Burgauer, Chair of Scottish Rural Action, said
“Scottish Rural Action is delighted to receive on-going support from the Scottish Government for our work in empowering rural communities in Scotland.
“It has become clear over the last year that there is a need for SRA to be a proactive influencer in policy and decision-making, with the driving force for this direction coming from both rural communities and wider stakeholders. Our Action Plan for 2017-19 crystalises this shift in focus to being a powerful voice for the people of rural Scotland and focuses on the themes chosen by our members at the Rural Parliament in 2016. These are digital connectivity, local democracy, land, transport and business, enterprise and employment.
“We also see the need to respond positively to the understandable concerns from rural communities about Brexit, and our conference in September this year will be focused on rural development post-2020, and continuing to develop a cohesive vision for rural Scotland.”
The Scottish Government has so far provided a total of £480,000 over the 3 years to support two Rural Parliaments and the delivery of the resultant Action Plans. This does not include today’s announcement.
The funding will help with:
* Delivery on the 2017/19 SRA Action Plan
* Enabling five priority working groups to take forward targeted actions
* The continuation of the Scottish Rural Action voluntary board meetings and continued input to local, national and EC policy