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Thursday, July 20, 2006
Rural is everywhere - but to what end?
If you've not been reading the Guardian's series of articles on rural England over the last week, haven't read the trade press for months, never listen to Radio 4 - oh, ok, if you are like 95% of the population - you may not have noticed the growing profile of rural issues, and about time too. Today the Commission for Rural Communities published the latest State of the Countryside report, and as last year, it is full of interesting facts and warnings, yet if I think about significant policy changes over the last year, or indeed any projects that really push new ideas, not much springs to mind.

But in any case, here's a linklog of some of the recent stuff:

Really interesting project (nicely designed website too) - The Enterprise for Inclusion project - from the Plunkett Foundaton and Defra which aimed to provide sustainable funding for rural social exclusion. Tiny amounts of money were given, but more interestingly, came with generous amounts of advice from the E4I team (often up to 15 days) which I'm sure is the thing that made the difference.

CPRE's response to the SotC report - predictable drivel about how we've all got to curb our natural urges to live in the countryside and be confined to the cities. Anti-democratic, if you ask me.

An fascinating book from the Countryside Agency - a visual documentation of the changes to the agricultural landscape over the last 33 years.

Local government reckons that if central govt left it alone for a bit they would be able to solve affordable rural housing issues. Yeah right.

A brochure from EMDA about some of the stuff they've been doing on modernising rural delivery.

A glimmer of action: the launch of the Village CORE programme with £2m to give to new community-run village shops over the next three years.

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