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Mission launched to stop young people leaving countryside

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Mission launched to stop young people leaving countryside

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Communities and also in Housing, Local Government

Mission launched to stop young people leaving countryside Mission launched to stop young people leaving countryside

A local authority's councillors have endorsed a year-long mission to prevent the drain of young families and people from rural communities.

A debate Richmondshire District Council corporate board discussed concerns over a lack of affordable housing, the poor quality of employment and business opportunities, little or no access to essential services, spasmodic public transport, and NHS services such as GP Surgeries and local maternity services being lost in the district's countryside areas.

Councillors agreed that the problem cannot be solved simply by the council acting on its own, as it needs a co-ordinated approach.

The council has agreed to take a lead by being "very active" in lobbying regional and national organisations to raise awareness of the acute plight of rural communities.

This will also include hosting a conference on the issues later in the year. In the meantime, it is preparing a series of detailed papers on the key concerns to explore what the council can do, acting in partnership with others as appropriate, to help address the problems.

Cllr John Blackie said: “16 years ago two local primary schools in the Upper Dales had 117 children on their combined school rolls. In September there will be just 67 pupils because local young families, faced with insurmountable difficulties to overcome, have voted with their feet and moved away.

"Children gracing the corridors and classrooms of our small rural schools are the lifeline to a vibrant, sustainable long term future for their local communities, and without them we are but a generation or two away from witnessing their complete collapse.

“Storm clouds are now directly overhead and unless we act quickly now and act together in doing so young people and young families will sadly become an endangered species in our rural areas. Doing nothing and hoping things might improve soon is simply not an option – they will not.”

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