About Rural Wisdom

About Rural Wisdom

Rural Wisdom provided a space for older people in rural Scotland and Wales.  It took a community development and shared learning approach to help people learn from, and support, each other within and between communities.  We explored the impact of activities led by older people living in rural areas. Our mission was to help improve the lives of older people in rural communities by listening to them and helping to ensure their needs are met. The project was funded for 5-years between 2017 – 2022, but the Rural Wisdom network continues to grow, sharing the approach across Scotland, Wales and beyond. 

Where it all began…

Rural Wisdom has had impact across the UK thanks to funding secured from the National Lottery Community Fund’s Accelerating Ideas Programme. Since then, we have led a range of projects in rural communities across Scotland and Wales to offer a space for older people. At the start of the project, Maureen McGinn, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund Scotland said of the project;

The Rural Wisdom project will ensure that older people in both Scotland and Wales will have their voices heard about things which matter most to them. It is a great example of how National Lottery funding can make a real difference to people’s lives and specifically the lives of older people living in rural communities. I am sure that it will bring many benefits to those involved, including boosting confidence and skills and empowering older people to participate in and shape activities within their local areas.”

Since Rural Wisdom began we have seen positive changes on the issues we set out to tackle and on additional ones that emerged over time.

Cartoon style mind map of hills and text

What we have achieved between 2017 – 2022…

  • Listening to over 4,100 older people in rural areas and embracing their ideas, big and small.
  • Helping new community groups get started and existing ones keep going. The activities of these groups are now benefitting thousands more people.
  • Delivering over £422,000 of funding for local activities in a range of rural communities.
  • Connecting communities with the people, groups and businesses with the resources that can improve life in their area.
  • Supporting other organisations to do more for people in rural spaces by showing them what is possible.
  • Contributing to plans at the Welsh Assembly Government, Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament, UK Government and House of Lords for long-lasting national impact.
  • Bringing people together in a network of connected communities across rural Scotland, Wales, and the rest of the UK.

Cartoon style mind map of trees and text

Rural Wisdom continues…

Lots of the Rural Wisdom activity continues through communities and local group taking on ideas and developing them into something even better. Our spin-off projects will continue to run in local areas. To support rural communities to continue shaping and influencing, we are building up several strands of our shared learning work:

  • We will continue to host our Conversation Starter Webinar series. Keep an eye on our events page for more information or visit our webinar library to watch our previous recordings.
  • We will pull together events and news about rural, community-led activity that people share with us in a quarterly newsletter. Send us your news or events to share. 
  • We will update the shared learning area of our website to include stories, case-studies, and resources that our contacts and network shares with us.

If you live, work or are part of a community group in a rural community, and would like to highlight what’s working well in your community, please get in touch with us. We would love to feature you in a guest blog, in our newsletter, or in our resource library.

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