New guide supports rural survival

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The Prince’s Countryside Fund – a charity founded by HRH The Prince of Wales to help the British countryside to flourish – has launched their Village Survival Guide, a vibrant manual filled with tips and advice on how to build a strong community.

This colourful guide is an entertaining collection of case histories, checklists and practical advice, which will enable those living in the countryside to utilize the talents available in their own communities, and benefit from the examples of many others to tackle some of their own challenges.

It follows on from the Fund’s 2018 research Recharging Rural, which saw over 3000 people tell the charity about the challenges they faced living in rural areas, and how they were pulling together to overcome these.

Available in hard copy to buy, or to download for free, the Village Survival Guide features contributions from more than 40 local groups across the UK, as well as from experts and organisations such as ACRE, the Plunkett Foundation, and Pub is The Hub. The guide includes case studies from Pub is The Hub projects, the Angler’s Rest in Bamford, Derbyshire and the Bird in Bush in Elsdon in Northumberland.

Claire Saunders, Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said: “Over the past nine years, the Fund has distributed more than £10 million in grant funding, to hundreds of inspiring community groups and charities. We realised that what people had learned from these successful projects could help to inspire others to take the initiative and transform their local community; the projects run by these groups deliver essential services at a local level, often making up for shortfalls in other provisions.”

The guide covers topics including how to set up shops, pubs, and hubs; rural housing; transport; business development; digital infrastructure; and how to get help when you need it. There is also a Village Sustainability Top 10, which looks at the key things that communities must do to safeguard their future viability.

The recent House of Lords report, “Time for a strategy for the rural economy,” highlighted the need for, amongst other things, a rural- strategy, re-energised rural proofing and place-based solutions. The Village Survival Guide helps communities to seize the opportunity and create some of their own local solutions, to both social and economic issues in the countryside.

The Prince’s Countryside Fund would like to thank all those who contributed their expertise and story to The Village Survival Guide, and players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their support of the digital version. The guide is available to purchase in hard copy or download for free from www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk/VSG