As someone who grew up in the country, levelling up rural communities is close to my heart

Kate Henderson, 04 July 2022

Rural Housing Week 2022 starts today and there are lots of ways to get involved – and even more reasons why you should.

As some of you will know, I grew up in a tiny village in Cornwall. As a child, you would often have found me exploring in the countryside, climbing trees or playing on the beach with friends. There was a very strong community spirit growing up in a rural area, and I think this is often the case because they face certain challenges that other areas aren’t aware of.

This week is Rural Housing Week when the sector unites to shine a spotlight on the crucial role that housing associations play in the lives of people outside our towns and cities.

The Levelling Up White Paper, published in February, recognises that housing associations will play a key role in levelling up across the country. This is especially true in rural areas, which is why the theme for Rural Housing Week this year is ‘levelling up rural communities’.

One challenge facing rural areas especially is having less infrastructure. While I loved where I grew up, it could also be quite isolating sometimes. There were only a couple of buses a day to the nearest town, and we relied heavily on local shops and amenities – which often struggled to stay afloat. When a shop, or a pub or a post office closes in a rural area, it really impacts the community.

One reason local businesses are closing is the high cost of housing in rural areas, which often means young people and families can’t afford to stay. The average house in the South West, where I’m from, is more than 10 times the typical annual salary. And with more second and holiday homes in rural areas, there often aren’t enough customers anymore to support small business.

That’s why it’s crucial that when we look at delivering ‘levelling up’ we don’t just focus on regeneration in our towns and cities, but we also unlock the huge potential of our rural communities through the delivery of much needed affordable homes. 

There are so many ways you can support Rural Housing Week. I hope you’ll get involved.

Support Rural Housing Week

Follow #RuralHousingWeek on Twitter and share the stories you find there.

Share your own stories during the week – these might be quotes, photos, videos, written case studies, or a blog or a news article.

Create and share your own customisable Rural Housing Week supporter graphic.

Invite your local MP or mayor to visit so they can see for themselves what your organisation does and the impact it has.

Register for one of our online events:

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