Local services can cover anything from health and social care to swimming pools and libraries. They are all vitally important for revitalising the community’s mind, body and soul, but unfortunately these services have long been in decline in rural areas.
This is because the cost of delivering services is often higher in rural areas, as they need to cover greater distances and a more dispersed population. This means villages can often be left stranded as private services, such as shops and pubs, and public services, like transport and healthcare, close down or are withdrawn.
To make sure rural communities can access fundamental services tailored to their needs – like social care – they need to be empowered and inspired through community enterprise to establish creative ways of replacing or reintroducing key services.
Reintroducing lost services back into the local area means less travel, reduced costs to local people most in need of the services and, in the longer term, leads to more sustainable rural communities.
There is a wide range of community business ideas that can be used to retain or introduce new services into rural communities across the UK. For example, a rural community could set up a community centre with facilities for visiting doctors, or they could set up facilities for health and social care. There are also communities that have taken on the running of swimming pools and library services threatened with closure.
Get community support for your idea or read how others have taken control of their local services. Visit Village Communities to find other communities that have established enterprising local services. Or check out these useful organisations: