NALC urges local councils to involve youth in local decision making
The Princes Countryside Fund has launched the Recharging Rural report, which shows rural communities are increasingly helping themselves to improve their quality of life but feel as though they are becoming more remote.
Professor Sarah Skerratt, director of policy engagement from Scotland’s Rural College who led the research, said: “An overwhelming majority of respondents told us that the biggest barriers faced by people living in a remote rural area are a forced reliance on private transport to access anything; limited or poor infrastructure in rural areas, including a lack of access to shops and services; and the ongoing issue of poor digital connectivity. The most significant challenge for the future is affordable rural housing.”
Claire Saunders, director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said: “It is encouraging to hear how communities are taking action to address the challenges they face – respondents told us of more than 500 community-led projects happening across the UK.”
Cllr Sue Baxter, chairman of NALC said: “Rural local (parish and town) councils will recognise and agree with these findings. The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) regularly hears their concerns about public transport, poor infrastructure, lack of access to services and slow broadband. Many local councils are already taking action to address some of these problems and helping communities to help themselves.”
“For example, Whiston Parish Council and Cogenhoe Parish Council, both in Northamptonshire, have partnered with local community groups to replace a vital bus service that was lost due to reductions in funding. Thanks to the work of the local councils, residents can continue to feel connected to their communities.”
“But there are some challenges for local councils as well. A very strong theme in the report is the fundamental need to involve young people in decision-making in their communities, with young people at the centre of consultation and decision-making and given leadership roles currently too dominated by those of the older generation. I would urge local councils to consider how best to make this happen and NALC will be giving this further consideration through our Diversity Commission.”