LIV­ING IN THE VIL­LAGES

Let's Talk - - Contents - Words by Rachel Ban­ham

Tak­ing an in-depth look at the re­al­ity of liv­ing a ru­ral life

It’s the ru­ral idyll of a by­gone age - where you can walk to the pub or the post of­fice and where the lo­cal shop is the heart of vil­lage life.

Yet, the re­al­ity of ru­ral life to­day can be quite dif­fer­ent. The grad­ual whit­tling away of many tra­di­tional vil­lage ameni­ties means that some older peo­ple in such com­mu­ni­ties can feel iso­lated and lonely.

For its Na­tional Coun­try­side Week, from July 30 to Au­gust 5, The Prince’s Coun­try­side Fund is fo­cus­ing on the im­por­tance of iso­lated ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, and the so­lu­tions to the chal­lenges they face.

El­lie Jes­son, communications of­fi­cer, says: “These com­mu­ni­ties are es­sen­tial to the coun­try­side, and the loss of ser­vices is keenly felt by those liv­ing in iso­lated ar­eas. The fund firmly be­lieves that thriv­ing ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties act as the back­bone of ru­ral life.”

A pa­per pub­lished by the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion in as­so­ci­a­tion with Pub­lic Health Eng­land in 2017 de­tailed how nearly 10 mil­lion peo­ple live in ar­eas of Eng­land de­fined as ru­ral. This num­ber is in­creas­ing and the pop­u­la­tion is grow­ing older.

A pa­per pub­lished by Ru­ral Eng­land in 2016 found the preva­lence of lone­li­ness in­creases with age.

How­ever, there are projects across East Anglia ris­ing to the chal­lenge of re­con­nect­ing peo­ple.

A beau­ti­ful coun­try­side scene from our ar­chives, show­ing a view of Shote­sham, in south Nor­folk, in 1959.

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