Getting rural Britain back to work after COVID-19 lockdown – May 2020

The Rural Coalition – a group of 13 national organisations, including AirS national body ACRE, subscribe to a vision for a living and working countryside in England – have called on the Government to ensure that consideration is given to rural communities during the planning of the lifting the COVID-19 restrictions.

The letter to The Rt Hon George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs outlines considerations and practical recommendations for making sure the rural economy is helped to recover, whilst safeguarding the health of rural residents.

Richard Quallington, ACRE’s Executive Director said, “Coronavirus has seen the countryside effectively closed for business. The coming months will be critical for ensuring that communities and businesses in rural areas receive support and guidance that reflects their unique circumstances and helps them back to work. The proposals we have set out with the Rural Coalition provide a means by which government can engage with rural communities to achieve this.

Recommendations include risk assessments suitable for use by village halls that allow for an informed and tailored approach to reopening, community-level tracking and tracing of the virus, longer-term financial support for rural businesses and voluntary sector organisations which may find it harder to resume operations and improving rural residents access to services and information, much of which is online.

The Rural Coalition is hopeful the government will take these recommendations into consideration ahead of announcing plans for lifting the lockdown, expected shortly.

You can read the letter to George Eustice MP in full here

“Supporting rural communities in Sussex to be vibrant and diverse places in which to live and work.”