Sunday 19 June 2011

Rural communities risk becoming soulless dormitory settlements

England’s rural services under threat

By Ruralcity Media
Rural Services Network

UNPRECEDENTED challenges mean rural communities risk becoming soulless dormitory settlements, an expert has warned.

Villages were in danger of losing services, schools and business activity, said Gerard McElwee, professor of entrepreneurship at Nottingham Business School.

"Loss of services, rural transport, rural poverty, access to affordable housing and enterprise support are just a few issues facing rural communities.

"Given the scale and nature of these changes and the inherent difficulties and capacity constraints in addressing them, it is vital that we put investment and support in place to develop sustainable rural communities."

Professor McElwee highlighted the issues facing rural communities ahead of the ninth Rural Entrepreneurship Conference.

The conference, to be held at Nottingham Trent University on 23-24 June, is being run in conjunction with the University of West of Scotland.

Practitioners, policy makers and academics will attend the event from as far afield as Mexico, Iran, Portugal and Pakistan.

They will share research findings, analysis and good practice relating to rural enterprise and rural sustainability.

Speakers include Stuart Burgess, of the Commission for Rural Communities; and Nigel Curry, director of the Countryside and Community Research Institute.

Professor McElwee said the conference would focus on ways of making rural communities sustainable.

It would include looking at ways in businesses and communities can contribute towards making rural economies more enterprising.

The discussions and networking which will happen at this event could prove key to the future of these communities," said Professor McElwee.