Rural Wisdom - what we're hearing

Ruth Cape, Outside the Box

In this guest blog, Ruth Cape from Outside the Box tells us about their Rural Wisdom partnership project which is working to make rural areas work better for older people. 

We have been talking to people in the Rural Wisdom local areas and hearing from people in other parts of Scotland. This is what we have noticed over the past few months:

  • Older people in rural areas are proud of where they live. They want to be part of making this a great place for them and for other people in that community, both now and for the future.
  • People are weary of formal consultations, especially when they don’t hear what the outcome was and nothing seems to happen as a result. But they are happy to have tea and a blether when they can talk about what is good about their area, what works well, what could be better and how they can  contribute to making it happen.
  • Keeping local shops going is important. But some older people are finding it harder to get there or get round the shop or get shopping home.  Few shops will deliver shopping, so people turn to on-line shopping from supermarkets.  But this puts the local shops at risk, which is not what they want.  People want to be part of finding a solution to this situation.
  • Access to local halls and other spaces for community groups to meet and run activities is becoming an increasing problem in some places. The charges for publicly-owned halls are going up and many groups cannot afford that.  The result is no or fewer community-led activities, which leaves older people and others more socially isolated.  We are working alongside local people to find ways to solve this – finding more income for community groups and looking for ways to talk to the organisations that manage halls about their charging polices.
  • A priority for many older people in rural areas is being part of creating more activities that bring together the whole community, where people get to know each other and enjoy doing something together.
  • There are some great new approaches getting going in rural areas for people who need care and support. There are also people who are struggling to get support when traditional ways of organising services are not working in rural areas.  This includes people not being able to get the information and advice they need to even get started talking about the support they need.

Rural Wisdom is working alongside people to find ways to tackle these and other issues and learn what works.

Does any of this seem familiar to you?  Do you have ideas or examples that can help the conversation?

We are keen to hear from you: get in touch with with any questions or thoughts.

Find out more about Rural Wisdom

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In or near the Borders? Come along to our next event to meet us, find out more about what we’re doing and share your thoughts: Rural Wisdom Get-together, Galashiels, 23 August