"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.
Putting the Spotlight on Farming Communities
A report prepared by Rose Regeneration has been launched by Tim Farren MP at the House of Commons. ‘Putting the Spotlight on Farming Communities’ was commissioned by the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) to find examples of farmers working together to help each other (Farmer Networks). Although the document identifies many types of networking activity amongst farmers, five case studies with core common characteristics are showcased: Exmoor Hill Farm Project, FarmCornwall, The Farmer Network Ltd, Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services (UTASS) and Warwickshire Rural Hub. These case studies are holistic in not only brokering collaboration among farmers but also sustaining their local communities and making them more resilient. According to David Gardner (Chief Executive, RASE) “these Farmer Networks deliver significant economic, social and environmental outcomes as well as building the capacity of farmers to deliver their own collaborative solutions”. The report sets out the benefits that Farmer Networks bring to rural communities, the savings they generate for the public purse through their activities, and makes several recommendations for policy makers to ensure their continuation.