"Big Society" approaches to rural services?
Shops, pubs, post offices, health centres and village halls are the lifeblood of thriving rural communities. Yet many residents currently face the challenge of adjusting to significant reductions in public funding which could lead to adverse impacts on some of these services. At the same time, there are increasing opportunities for community groups to come together to deliver services. Rose Regeneration is working with the Countryside and Community Research Institute (University of Gloucestershire) and Rural Services Network to provide Defra with updated evidence on “Big Society” approaches to public service delivery. The project will set out successful models and identify barriers which prevent expansion. The findings of this work will be used to help communities wanting to run or set up services.
How Leader happened and what it has delivered in rural Cumbria
The Leader approach is a delivery mechanism under the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). It uses local knowledge to promote an integrated “bottom up”, community-led delivery of RDPE funding. In England it is being implemented by Local Action Groups (LAGs) and is targeted on rural areas with particular needs or priorities. Rose Regeneration has been commissioned by two LAGs - Solway, Border & Eden and Cumbria Fells & Dales – to undertake comprehensive evaluations of the programmes they have delivered across Axes 1, 3 and 4. The evaluations will examine the success of the programmes in meeting their aims and objectives; demonstrate their impacts on stakeholders; and identify contributions to wider social and economic outcomes and agendas. A series of reports will be produced for each LAG setting out the lessons learned which can be utilised in future (RDPE and non-RDPE) programmes.