Rural Exchange

Rural and Island Communities: Places of Opportunity

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Rural and Island Communities: Places of Opportunity

Rural and Island Communities: Places of Opportunity

We hear lots about the challenges and problems of living in rural and island communities and undoubtedly there are many of these that fundamentally impact on the lives of rural and island residents – unaffordable housing, expensive and unreliable public transport, higher costs of fuel and food, a lack of places for young people to meet, biodiversity decline, the list could go on.

However, our rural and island communities are also places of immense opportunities. They are places that may provide solutions to the climate and biodiversity emergencies, including restoring peatlands, planting trees and generating renewable energy. They could be locations to test innovative technology-based solutions to overcome distance and isolation, including for older people and those with reduced mobility, or those wishing to work from home outside urban centres. Many communities are sites of creative community-led and community-based solutions to increasing the supply of local high quality, nutritious food. We know our rural and island communities are incredibly resourceful, supportive and resilient.

We’d like to hear from you about what you think are the most important challenges and opportunities facing your rural or island community over the next 5 years and then next 20 years, and your views on how the challenges could be better tackled and the opportunities delivered on. We’d like to know what key action/s the Scottish Government or other external stakeholders, including local authorities, enterprise companies, private sector businesses, etc. should take to help maximise the opportunities and reduce the challenges in your communities.  How can we think about rural and island communities in much more positive ways to emphasise their huge contributions to society rather than focus on the challenges.

There might be long-standing challenges to which the community, perhaps working with external stakeholders, has developed place-based solutions based on local resources. There may be an opportunity for renewable energy generation or peatland restoration in your community which will provide new job opportunities for local young people – how can this opportunity be maximised for the benefit of everyone. 

We’d be extremely grateful if you could spare five minutes of your time to complete our short survey and give us your views.

You can take the survey via this link or by scanning the below QR code.

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