The Rural Youth Project, an international research project launched by Scottish industry partners, has signed up two new associates, the National Federation of Young Famers and Rural Youth Europe. The project, which is underpinned by an online survey and culminates in a rural youth festival in August 2018, seeks to find out more about young people aged 18-28 living or working rurally, and their aspirations and challenges. The outcomes will be used to inform policy makers in the Scottish Government as well as the wider industry.
Jane Craigie of Jane Craigie Marketing, who initiated the project with her colleague Rebecca Dawes, said:
“We have already received a huge wave of responses from across the world including Canada, Sweden, Australia and Germany, as well as from all around the UK from Somerset to Shetland. We are delighted to be partnering with two more very significant and proactive organisations in the rural sector, the UK’s Young Farmers and Europe’s Rural Youth organisation, to help us spread the word and add strength to the survey. The more data we have, the more useful it will be for all of us, both here in Scotland and in the other countries taking part, tohelp develop feasible strategies to make living and working outside urban centres accessible and rewarding.”
With Brexit and rapid digital development, it is an interesting time for rural areas both politically and technologically, which could provide opportunity. The results of the survey, which will illustrate the important issues and opportunities for young people living in rural areas, will be presented to the Scottish Government later this year with a view to aiding policy decisions going forward.
Rural Youth Europe and the NFYFC join industry organisations including Lantra, Scottish Rural Network and Scottish Enterprise as official partners for the Rural Youth Project. Russ Carrington, Chairman of Rural Youth Europe, a member-led NGO working to promote and activate young people in the countryside.said:
“We’re delighted to support this project which will yield some important data about the challenges for young people in rural areas. We believe that these challenges are common throughout Europe and by being better informed with hard data, our rural youth network can better tailor activities to help young people remain part of vibrant rural communities long into the future.”
In addition to putting forward the views of young people in rural areas, a series of international vlogs and social interaction through the RYP Facebook page hopes to identify rural leaders, who will play a fundamental role in the industry going forward, and to create an international network of young people facing similar challenges, where they can share ideas and explore solutions.
James Eckley of the NFYFC, which is one of the largest rural youth organisations in the UK, added:
“NFYFC is pleased to support a project that complements our own work of highlighting the concerns and needs of rural youth and providing future opportunities.”
The online survey, which can be reached via the RYP website www.ruralyouthproject.com, will close on 31 May 2018. It will be repeated annually until 2021. The 2018 Project will culminate in a three-day Rural Youth Ideas Festival, run by Jane Craigie Marketing from 1 – 3 August on a farm in central Scotland, and an action plan developed by the Project partners.