The Kent Rural Network
The Kent Rural Network is an initiative launched by the Kent Rural Board (Kent’s strategic rural partnership) and subsequently invited by Defra to join the National Rural and Farming network. The primary purpose of the Kent Rural Network is to provide a strong, cross-sector, rural voice in Kent. The network will be used to raise awareness of issues of critical importance to rural communities (including the businesses serving them and located within them) – and develop collaborative approaches to gathering evidence and delivery of solutions.
The key objectives of the Kent Rural Network are: -
- Awareness Raising – Developing a strong, cross-sector rural voice to champion key rural issues, support rural proofing at a local level and to create a learning culture.
- Networking – Creating opportunities for improved communication – especially to support rural intelligence gathering (e.g. emerging key rural issues).
- Collaboration – Enhancing partnership working across a wider range of rural organisations – bringing together expertise and resources (with a strategic context).
Key areas of Interest include: -
- Enabling the development of affordable housing.
- Developing solutions to rural broadband provision.
- Growing Kent’s £2.6 billion food sector and raising awareness of the growing strategic importance of the sector amidst rising concerns over global food security.
- Raising awareness of Kent’s £6.8 billion rural economy – especially regarding the importance of home-based business.
- Working with the land-use planning system to devise locally appropriate policies which aid economic growth, environmental quality and social cohesion.
- Community-led planning.
- Community asset management, with a particular emphasis on championing the long-tradition of rural social enterprise and further developing the rural Big Society.
- Conservation and enhancement of valued landscape.
- Developing a skills base necessary to make the most of Kent’s agricultural and horticultural potential.
- Quality governance at Parish and Town Council level of local government.
- Sustainable management of water resources.
- Blue-sky thinking and horizon scanning – i.e. emerging rural issues (at local, sub-national and national levels)
The Kent Rural Network is open to: -
- All rurally-focussed public, private and civil Society organisations
- All organisations who are either setting policy or delivering services which affect the rural areas of Kent and Medway.
- Rural organisations in the South East Local Economic Partnership area to aid information sharing/knowledge exchange.
Further details on how to join The Kent Rural Network will be published shortly.