4. Sustaining rural services and infrastructure
This theme was led by Action with Communities in Rural England ACRE. The Project Manager was Deborah Clarke of ACRE. The project had partners in 8 countries: Armenia, England, Germany, Latvia, Moldova, Slovakia, Turkey and Wales. It involved 422 people from 12 countries in survey, research and a final conference. Conclusions identified service priorities, policy and support needs.
Services and infrastructure are important to everyone, and to rural residents, but raise different issues. Part of the work aimed to establish which rural services and infrastructure are the most important for people across rural Europe and how such services are provided. The main aims were:
- to clarify key issues when considering rural services and infrastructure
- to identify case studies to show how rural services can be sustained by communication
- to offer conclusions, recommendations and to share knowledge of how citizens can participate in shaping policy and taking action to ensure services.
The key findings of the research, and the message taken to the 2017 European Rural Parliament were:
- Where spatial factors indicative of rurality impede the socio-economic wellbeing of rural communities, public policy instruments seeking to redress this are found often to be wanting.
- Investment in rural people is fundamental to success of infrastructure and services – and this is not happening sufficiently.
- There is much potential in the creation of rural strategies, at local level, enabling priority setting which augments that of national and international bodies.
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