A spotlight of our work focusing on older people in rural areas.
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This newsletter is provided by the Rural Services Network.

It includes a roundup of rural news and commentary focusing on older people in rural areas over the last 12 months.

The latest statistics release from DEFRA in May 2016 show:
  • In 2013 the population of England was 53.9 million, of which 9.2 million (17.1 per cent) lived in rural areas 

  • There are proportionately more older people living in rural areas – over 50 per cent of the population in rural areas were aged 45 and above, compared with around 40 per cent in urban areas. 

News stories that have been featured on our rsnonline.org.uk website include:
Blue light deal for National Parks
A landmark agreement aims to ensure emergency services cover rural communities in National Parks.  The joint accord between National Parks England and the Home Office means communities stand to benefit from improved emergency service communications.  It will support the roll-out of the emergency services mobile communications programme while protecting the qualities of National Parks by minimising any adverse environmental impacts.

Rural areas bear brunt of bank closures

Rural areas have borne the brunt of more than 600 bank branch closures over the past year.  Parts of south-west England, Scotland and Wales lost the most branches per head of population in the 12 months to April 2016.

Rural Broadband by request only
Faster broadband connections will not be automatically rolled out to isolated rural areas, the government has confirmed.  Instead, rural homes and businesses will have to request connections – a process which could involve a four-year wait.
(Rural Health Conference)
Rural Health Network
The Rural Health Network enables anyone involved in delivering services in rural areas to share ideas, network and share best practice. New members are always welcome and if your organisation would like to find out more, please contact us on 01822 851370 or visit the Rural Health Network section on our website for more information.
For each local authority that is a member of the Rural Services Network -Sparse grouping, we provide a dedicated page including lots of facts and figures and analysis focusing on that local area.
The importance of rural volunteers
From providing services in your local community to doing whatever is required to help out, understanding the social value of volunteering is now finding its way onto the policy agenda. What traditional and newer measurement approaches are emerging and what do they mean for rural communities? Jessica Sellick investigates.

Growing challenge of the rural elderly
One in five elderly people in the UK feels they have no-one to turn to, according to the Campaign to End Loneliness. So what can be done to tackle loneliness in older people in the countryside? Jessica Sellick investigates.

Transport for an ageing rural society
Viable alternative transport options to the car is important for the health and wellbeing of an ageing population, says Brian Wilson.
We provide a range of statistics and analysis focusing on rural areas.  This includes figures on:
  • Economy
  • Housing
  • Health and Wellbeing
RSN Annual Rural Conference 2016
This years conference will be held in Cheltenham at the University of Gloucester on 6th and 7th September.
Now open for bookings!
Click to find out more about the conference and book a place
Our Observatory includes a range of analysis which can be used to see how well your authority is doing compared to other rural areas.

The over 65 population projection analysis has recently been included into the observatory.  

You can select your authority and see the population projections for the next 25 years. It provides comparison with the 2012 projections and shows that the predicted proportion of population who are 65 and over, and the rate of increase, is greatest within the most rural local authority areas.  

Serving rural communities that are spread over wide geographical areas, an ageing population will naturally bring complex costly issues for service providers in relation to service delivery. 
Older People in Rural Areas
in the press

We need 'later homes' for older people, not just starter homes for the young (14 June 2016)
...the all-party parliamentary Group (APPG) on housing and care for older people has called for the government to turn its attention to promoting new housebuilding for older people. As well as starter homes, the UK needs “later homes”. Not least because those who “right-size” – move into the right-sized property for their household’s needs – free up family homes for the next generation. (The Guardian)

Half of all small firms think rural transport and roads have deteriorated in recent years (25 May 2016)
A new report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) shows that half of all small firms think the UK’s roads and public transport system have deteriorated in recent years.  (Farming UK)

Group saves almost half of rural buses after axing (21 June 2016)
Dorset Community Transport (DCT) has stepped in to save almost half of 26 rural bus routes lost to transport funding cuts. The Blandford-based organisation is helping to reduce the impact of cuts on rural routes across the county, previously run by Dorset County Council.  In April, the county council was forced to reduce spending on subsidising public transport by £500,000 because of reductions in funding from central government. The biggest impact of these cuts was on rural bus services operating one or two days a week.  (Bournemouth Echo)

Voice of 10,000 halls to be heard again (17 June 2016)
A new online voice for the 10,000 village and community halls has been launched by the national charity ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England). The National Village and Community Halls Network will take over the role of the National Village Halls Forum and act as a reference group enabling the grass roots expertise of knowledgeable village and community hall trustees, volunteers and councillors to feed into meetings with MPs, Government departments and Consultation responses. (ACRE)

Rural Services Network Manifesto
Seeking the best for rural England, 2015 to 2020
Includes a whole chapter dedicated to Older People

It calls on the government to address key issues including:
  • Ensure that the formula used to allocate local government finance properly takes better account of the additional cost of delivering services such as adult social care in rural areas
  • Ensure that where older people’s support services are subject to competition, new providers cannot cherry pick and simply deliver in urban centres where it is easier for them to keep costs down.
  • Ensure that opportunities presented by the Care Act and Children’s & Families Act take account of rural issues, such as gaps in primary care capacity which can impact on adult social services.  Extend the Better Care Fund beyond its current timescale.
  • Decentralise more health services to primary care settings, to improve their rural accessibility, and offer more preventative services within GP surgeries.
  • Identify and promote delivery models such as outreach provision, which take services to users.  More services could be delivered to older people’s homes or nearby outlets, for example repeat prescriptions taken to village post offices.
  • Support local initiatives such as Good Neighbour, Village Agent and First Contact schemes, which help older people remain in their own homes and improve their quality of life.  They can also deliver valuable services, such as fire safety checks.  Ensure such schemes have routes to grant funding to establish and sustain them.
  • Promote a market-led approach to specialist housing development, which offers older people a choice of both market and affordable homes where they can continue to live independently.  This would also release more housing for younger rural households.  Enabling the development of ‘granny annexes’ or similar, would similarly help.
Send to others interested in Rural Older People
The Rural Services Network is an organisation comprising over 100 local authorities and 120 other public service providers seeking to establish links across public service, identifying and broadcasting best practise and making representations on rural service issues.  For details please visit our website www.rsnonline.org.uk

If you would like to find out more about our services or to join, please contact us on 01822 851370 or admin@sparse.gov.uk
Copyright © 2016 Rural Services Network, All rights reserved.

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