Event report: Scottish Rural Parliament

collage of Scottish Rural Parliament photos
Norette Ferns

The Scottish Rural Parliament 2018 saw around 400 people from across rural Scotland gather in Stranraer for three days of debate, presentations, workshops, project visits and more.

The Scottish Rural Parliament brings representatives of rural communities from across Scotland together with decision-makers every two years. The event is organised by the non-profit organisation Scottish Rural Action and aims to raise the profile of rural needs and strengths, as well as identifying solutions to the challenges our communities face.

Wednesday 14 November was a day for project visits and fringe events. Participants enjoyed project visits to Portpatrick Harbour and the Crafty Gin Distillery, Whithorn Round House and The Bookshop in Wigtown, and the Mull of Galloway Experience and Logan Botanic Gardens. There was also an opportunity to join a tour of Stranraer and hear about plans for the town. 

Fringe events covered a wide range of topics, from a celebration of 25 years of LEADER to a National Park for Galloway.

The Scottish Rural Parliament was officially opened that evening, when we also heard from the winners of the Rural Innovators Awards. This was a great chance to hear about the difference projects are making in their communities. 

The winners were:

  • Building Rural Communities Award - Kirrie Connections
  • Environment and Land Use - The Mountains and the People
  • Food and Drink Award - Forth Environment Link - Stirling Neighbour Food
  • Transport and Infrastructure - Balquihidder Community Broadband
  • Youth Award - Brechin HealthWatch

​Chris Parkin from Lanarkshire LEADER was awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to the LEADER approach.

On Thursday, participants took part in workshops helping to develop the content of Scottish Rural Action's Post-Brexit Policy Statement. These were followed by a panel discussion on post-Brexit rural policy.

In the afternoon a range of topics were covered during workshops including rural homelessness, social care and transport. There was also discussion about the post-Brexit Policy Statement. 

Friday morning saw more fringe workshops take place, as well as a session with Finlay Carson MSP, Emma Harper MSP and Councillor Ros Surtees giving people an opportunity to find out more about their roles and how best to forge relationships with elected representatives.

Mr Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, took part in the closing ceremony of the Scottish Rural Parliament and was presented with the Post-Brexit Policy Statement agreed by participants

Go to the Scottish Rural Action Facebook page to see videos and photos from the event, including videos of the closing ceremony and the Post-Brexit panel discussion.

Visit the Scottish Rural Parliament website to find out more about the event, and follow #SRP18 on social media for updates from the event.