The view of the Scottish Rural Parliament 2014
The Scottish Rural Parliament 2014 believes rural communities need to be sustainable, empowered and connected. They identified a number of key changes needed to enable rural Scotland to realise its vision. To find out what actions we will be taking over the next 18 months to make these changes happen, click on the link for each subject area:
Communities do not always feel able to influence decision-making in their local area or at a national policy level. There was a strong message from the Scottish Rural Parliament that without making fundamental and probably structural changes in Scotland, the impact of our other activities would be significantly impeded.
Community empowerment: Rural communities should be empowered to take action for themselves.
Enabling rural communities to choose their own priorities and solutions, and supporting them to work on these appropriate solutions, creates resilience and sustainability. A lot of issues can be addressed by communities and in order to do that they need to have the tools and capacity to do it.
Monitoring: Rural areas require their own set of outcome measures, monitoring arrangements and measures of deprivation.
The impact of our work and that of others can only be effectively measured if the ways in which we measure change are suitable for rural areas.
Being able to work locally enhances rural economic and social resilience and strengthens the population base. Scotland’s rural economy is vital not only for sustainability of rural areas but to the country as a whole.
Transport: Rural communities need to be well connected to services through integrated and affordable transport.
Scotland’s rural communities often feel they are severely penalised through lack of a proper integrated transport infrastructure and affordability.
Rural communities are more reliant on private transport and expensive fuel costs, pay higher delivery charges, are unable to access essential services and our businesses and economy suffer as a result.
Communications: Broadband and mobile phone signal are essential services which should be available to all.
Excellent 4G mobile phone signal and superfast broadband are essential services and yet many people in rural communities do not receive even basic mobile signal or broadband. It is one of the most limiting factors affecting businesses, communities and individuals in rural areas and is a likely cause of the out-migration of working age people and businesses.
Click on the links above for more information and the actions we will be taking to address these concerns in 2015-16.
Throughout 2014 we consulted with rural communities about the key issues which affect them and helped them to identify solutions to those issues.
We celebrated the many successes our communities have in tackling these issues through the Rural Innovators Award.
We explored the seven ‘top’ issues people voted for in more detail at the inaugural Scottish Rural Parliament national meeting in November 2014.
At the 2014 Scottish Rural Parliament people agreed that rural communities need to be more:
|Stronger local democratic structures||Access to superfast broadband and 4G mobile phone signal||An identified baseline of services allowing monitoring and intervention|
|A local visioning process||Effective and affordable transport||Employment and business opportunities|
|Access to assets||To each other through the Scottish Rural Parliament and other mechanisms||A good quality of life|
|The ability to influence ‘big policy’||Opportunities to live sustainably|
The Action Plan arising from the Scottish Rural Parliament 2014 is the result of consultation with potential delivery partners following the inaugural event in November 2014.
There were many recommendations and potential actions arising from the Rural Parliament and the Action Plan distils those into practicable and workable actions that Scottish Rural Action can undertake over the next 18 months. It is important to us at Scottish Rural Action that we work with, and not in opposition to, other agencies and organisations to make progress towards the changes people in rural communities need in order to thrive. This post-event work has been vital in determining where our limited resources are best applied. We will not be the lead organisation for many of these actions, but aim instead to support other organisations in their undertakings.
We thank those who have been involved and apologise to those who have been unintentionally omitted. There are many more actions that people from rural communities and other organisations in attendance at the Rural Parliament will also be taking forward but they are outside of the scope of this document. We thank those rural community activists, organisations and agencies too.
The actions that Scottish Rural Action will be taking on behalf of the Scottish Rural Parliament are contained within the Action Plan 2015-16 and also by following the links above.