Rural communities can share their lived experiences of the cost of living crisis directly on a new public web portal that has been launched.
The Rural Exchange portal was developed by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) to give voice to people living and working in rural areas.
Funded by the Scottish Government as part of its Strategic Research Programme, it was launched at a rural and island stakeholder workshop in Birnam.
It is a user-driven platform where community members can contribute their lived experiences of policies and services, as well as their ideas for improvement, which will be reviewed and collated by researchers.
The platform has been designed to better align research on rural Scotland with the realities of community experiences, providing people with a direct link to contribute to data collection, research processes and policy-making.
The site will also host polls on a range of topical issues related to rural economies and communities, and solicit information, ideas and opinions from people living and working in these areas.
The first poll asks people how the cost of living crisis has affected them, their families and local businesses in the food they buy and cook, how they heat their homes and how they commute to work or access services.
Upcoming polls aim to explore issues such as local democracy, business support for SMEs in rural and island communities, and transportation infrastructure.
Jane Atterton, senior lecturer at SRUC, said: “As researchers, we rely on official secondary data sources, but these are not always suitable for rural and island areas – often they are not available. on a sufficiently local geographical scale and are not up to the task. dated enough.
“What we often miss is ‘baseline’ evidence about people’s lived experiences and how service delivery or a particular policy intervention affects their daily lives.
“We hope to change that with the Rural Exchange by providing a vehicle for rural and island residents to more directly shape the research we conduct and the policy recommendations we offer.
“The Rural Exchange also supports the rural movement in Scotland by providing a strong evidence base for action, collaboration and mobilization.”
People can engage with the Rural Exchange by using the “Contact Us” button to share information, ideas, opinions or issues or by participating in short themed surveys which will include a mix of closed and open-ended questions .
Visit: www.ruralexchange.scot for more information or to participate in a survey.