Are you ready for Rural Housing Week 2023?

Patrick Merton-Jones, 12 June 2023

Rural Housing Week is an annual campaign to shine a spotlight on the vital importance of housing associations for rural communities. Taking place 3-7 July, the theme for Rural Housing Week 2023 is 'building a better future for rural communities'.

Rural areas in England are suffering from a severe shortage of affordable housing, with an average of 2,356 people on the social housing waiting list in rural local authorities. This has huge implications for these communities, for the sustainability of the local economy as well as a clear increase in homelessness and rough sleeping. Rural Housing Week 2023 is all about how we can build a better future for these communities. Throughout the week we’ll be shining a light on how housing associations are tackling these challenges head on, and on what further support is needed from government and policy makers.

This is my first Rural Housing Week as the NHF External Affairs Manager lead for rural housing – while planning the week with our members over the last few months I’ve been struck by their passion for their communities, and the ambition to tackle the causes and symptoms of the housing crisis in rural areas. Rural Housing Week 2023 is an opportunity for all rural housing associations to demonstrate this passion and commitment, and to learn from each other how best to address the various challenges we face.

Get involved

There are lots of ways you can get involved in Rural Housing Week 2023:

  • Save the date: 3-7 July 2023, and help spread the word.
  • Follow #RuralHousingWeek on Twitter and share the stories you find there.
  • Prepare your own stories and share them during the week – these might be quotes, photos, videos, written case studies, a blog or a news article. To help you organise, we’re suggesting a different focus for each day, but these are just suggestions, your stories could be on anything to do with how your organisation is building a better future for your community.   
  • Use our custom-made campaign tool to create and share your own Rural Housing Week supporter graphic.
  • Use our template invitation letter to invite your local MP or mayor to visit (doesn’t have to be during Rural Housing Week) so they can see for themselves what your organisation does and the impact it has.

Register for our online events

We’re also hosting two online events which are free for NHF members to join. It’s worth registering to attend even if you’re busy at the time because we’ll email everyone who registered a link to watch the webinar back whenever you like.

Homelessness – the ‘hidden’ rural crisis

Research released earlier this year highlighted the growing homelessness crisis in rural areas. The report has generated interested from key political stakeholders, with a broad acceptance of the need for future homelessness and rough sleeping strategies to take into account the often ‘hidden’ nature of homelessness in rural areas.

This webinar on Monday 3 July will outline the findings of the research, highlight best practice, and introduce the broad coalition that has formed on the back of the report.

Planning - opportunities and obstacles for delivering rural housing

Increasing the supply of affordable housing is the key to tackling the growing waiting list in rural areas. But all too often a lack of funding and the challenges of our planning system mean that new development is hindered or halted.

This webinar on Wednesday 5 July will provide an overview of some of these challenges, an update on new and existing legislation and the improvements needed, and delve deeper into some of the more unique issues for rural areas that make increased affordable housing supply essential for all communities to thrive.

We've published more information as well as tools and resources to help you get involved in Rural Housing Week 2023 and if you have any questions or need anything from us, I’d love to hear from you.