Engaging with rural communities
By Labeeda Ahmed, Graduate Intern
In the Communities team we believe that behind every successful and thriving city, town and borough lies a welcoming and vibrant local community. We take pride in bringing together residents and stakeholders and supporting them as they overcome their differences and look forward to the exciting future of the community they call home. Uniting different ideas to create an end result that is practical and enjoyable for everyone, is a challenge we thrive and succeed in.
The development of both urban and rural communities is vital in ensuring the overall progress of the country. We particularly understand the importance of providing rural communities with the chance to grow as well as creating a stable foundation for them to continue to flourish for generations to come. Our attention is drawn to uniting families, stakeholders and the general public, but also to the future generation who will be brought up in a thriving community and make use of the valuable opportunities that come as a result of rural development.
Following development in rural areas, opportunities for employment, housing, leisure and entertainment expand, providing more options for residents to experience, learn and build a bright future for themselves. At the same time, this can attract new residents which benefits the economy, but also adds to diversity in the local community. We have engaged with a variety of communities, both urban and rural, throughout the development process right from initial consultations till the unveiling of the site. A key theme of our work is our dedication to assisting developers in enhancing rural communities whilst preserving their cultural/historical significance.
The North Yorkshire Rural Commission’s report, ‘Rural North Yorkshire: The way forward’, highlights the ways in which rural communities can be supported as they grow and develop, focusing on areas such as economy, education, housing and transport. The main challenges in relation to transport were the lack of ‘accessibility’ as well as ‘affordability and environmental impact.’ The Commission suggested that the Council have access to Shared Prosperity Funds and Levelling Up funds, to create schemes that are tailored to rural communities like North Yorkshire.
It was also found that housing is not readily available in such communities, so the Commission advised that the target group for ‘affordable housing’ be determined by analysing the average income of employees in the specific area rather than ‘market value.’ The Commission added that every parish in the rural community ‘should build five houses’ over 10 years, with 40% being ‘affordable or available for rental.’ This would make housing more accessible to the wider community. The report also emphasised the significance of community and social infrastructure, and called on the government to provide sufficient funding for related ventures in Levelling Up funds. These funds would contribute towards improving community services and provide local residents with the highest quality of facilities.
The ideas proposed by the Commission can be applied to other rural communities to improve the standard of living of residents in those areas. This will nurture an environment that can accommodate the financial, educational and general needs of residents and stakeholders alike. We are working towards a brighter future for all groups in society, including those in rural areas – every community and its future generation deserves access to new and exciting opportunities.
If you think our Communities team could help you or your organisation, get in touch with Gemma Gallant.