We were delighted to host an event in partnership with Dr Sarah Skerratt, Director of the Rural Policy Unit at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).
Dr Skerratt is keen to explore whether ‘rural’ affects the way we deliver Cedar – particularly in relation to some of the key rural issues – low population numbers; low population density/ high spread; centralisation of services and the public nature of life in rural communities. She was also keen to hear thoughts on what needs to change, why and how in relation to delivering the Cedar model in a rural context.
We are thrilled to welcome representatives from all of the Cedar projects which operate in areas defined as rural by the SRUC: East Ayrshire; Perth and Kinross; Moray; North Ayrshire; South Lanarkshire and Scottish Borders, as well as colleagues from the Highland region, who were keen to hear the experiences of existing rural Cedar projects, as well as to contribute their own perspective on what the potential opportunities and challenges might be to delivering Cedar in a particularly vast rural area.
Some of the key issues to emerge from the discussions included;
- Lack of local provision of Crèches/childcare
- Transport: Cost; distance; escort provision; amount of time spent travelling, particularly for children.
- Remoteness – both economic and geographic
- The Public nature of life in rural communities is not always necessarily a bad thing but can also be a positive – knowing other people may make it easier to attend a group, and longer term can be useful in the development of support networks.
- Siblings– low referrals can result in a considerable wait for the second sibling to start group. How does that feel for them?
The December Connecting Cedar event will be an opportunity to reflect on whether these issues are specific to Cedar in rural communities, or if these issues are being experienced across the wider Cedar Network.
Dr Skerratt hopes to work more closely with projects in three of the rural areas in order to understand more about the issues, both in terms of opportunities and challenges.
Dr Skerratt has also invited Cedar to present at the next Scottish Government Cross Party group on Rural Policy which takes place on 10th December 2013, at the Scottish Parliament – another fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of Cedar!