Rural parliament will look at empowering communities

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The twin themes of the 2018 Scottish Rural Parliament are Brexit and empowering communities to take action

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13th November 2018 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

More than 400 people will arrive in Stranraer this week to take part in the Scottish Rural Parliament.

The meeting, thought to be Scotland’s largest participatory democratic event, takes place every two years.

It brings people working, volunteering and representing rural communities together directly with policy makers and influencers to explore solutions to a range of rural challenges and to look at opportunities for community led solutions.

Topics of discussion include health service provision, future rural policy, rural gender pay gap and supporting refugees in rural areas, as well as more typical rural concerns such as land based industries, connectivity and rural housing.

The twin themes of the 2018 Scottish Rural Parliament are Brexit and empowering communities to take action.

Delegates will represent most of rural Scotland, from host region Dumfries and Galloway in the south to Orkney in the north. Learning and expertise will also be shared from international representatives attending from Ireland, Finland and England.

A number of young community representatives and youth organisations will also take part, reflecting 2018 being Scotland’s Year of Young People.

Emma Cooper, chief executive of Scottish Rural Action, which organises the Rural Parliament, said: “There has never been a more important time for rural Scotland to come together to speak with one, powerful voice. Every community in Scotland will be affected by Brexit, with rural areas particularly exposed, so it’s important that Scotland’s rural communities organise and take action to prepare for the changes ahead.

“The Rural Parliament programme has been designed to empower delegates to take action in their own communities and to harness rural Scotland’s knowledge and expertise to inform post-Brexit policy decisions by inviting rural representatives to engage with and influence policy makers during this period of change.

“With the ongoing uncertainty over the Irish border arrangements it is fitting that we are meeting in Stranraer, a town that may yet be facing an EU border on its doorstep.”

The parliament takes place from 14-16 November.