Thoughts on a Charter for Rural Wales
A network of independent organisations and individuals with extensive knowledge and experience of living and working in Rural Wales have come together to highlight the potential of our rural areas and seek support to capitalise on opportunities. As a network, we seek a strong vision and clarity of purpose in order to nurture the future development of our rural areas. 36% of people in Wales live in settlements of under 10,000 and rural areas generate 27% of Welsh GVA. Realising the distinctive opportunities available in our rural areas is vital to creating the prosperous, inclusive and sustainable Wales set out in the Well‐being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
It is our view that:
- Rural areas have a distinctive and growing potential for economic development and innovation which is different from large urban centres and which can play an important role in national well‐being.
- An area-based approach which works with local civil society, the land‐based and other rural businesses, the education and public sectors is the most effective way of mobilising all assets and delivering well-being for all.
- Locally focussed development strengthens and supports the foundational economy. It supports regionally important companies and nurtures and supports businesses deeply rooted in their local economy and the supply chains they depend upon.
- We should build upon our proud and strong track record of supporting community‐led local development through programmes such as LEADER, underpinning successful area‐based approaches.
- Organisations independent of government are well placed to unlock potential through a flexible, responsive approach at a local level working in partnership with public and private sector interests.
We are seeking:
- A renewed focus on the distinctive potential for innovation and development in Rural Wales. This includes support for an independent platform for rural voices from across sectors.
- Dedicated funding for rural development, including investment in innovation, skills development as well as support to overcome the structural barriers which hold back the potential of rural areas.
- Support for an area‐based approach which considers and makes use of all assets through co‐production.
- Recognition of the important role of independent organisations, built on a successful track record in supporting and delivering an area‐based approach.
We welcome the opportunity to work with Welsh Government, other decision makers andstakeholders about how these objectives can be achieved.