An initiative to identify and engage with the young rural leaders who can drive positive change in their local rural communities, is funded by a number of youth organisations in Scotland.

The Rural Youth Project, which coincides with the 2018 Year of Young People, will feature an online survey; year-long, in-depth video logs (vlogs) of rural young people aged 18 to 20 and a Rural Youth Ideas Festival. It will focus on young leaders from England, Scotland, Wales, Austria, Australia and the US, and it is intended to repeat the project annually.

The social enterprise venture is the brainchild of Jane Craigie and Rebecca Dawes of Jane Craigie Marketing, which will manage the initiative in partnership with the Scottish Association of Young Farmers (SAYFC); LANTRA Scotland; Scottish Enterprise; Scottish Rural Action; Scottish Rural Network; and YouthLink Scotland.

“Rural young people are fundamental to the vibrancy, energy and economic outlook of rural places,” notes Ms Craigie. “We want to better understand what young people perceive their challenges and opportunities to be, as well as gaining a better understanding of their degree of optimism for the future. Evidence suggests that the migration of young people away from rural areas hinges on education, employment opportunities, housing and public transport availability – some of the many research areas that we are surveying.

With so much emphasis on youth this year, we want to make sure that rural young people have a voice that will be heard.”

This year’s survey opened on January 26th and will close on April 30th. The 2018 project will culminate in a three-day Rural Youth Ideas Festival, run by Jane Craigie Marketing, on 20-22 July in rural Scotland, and an action plan developed by the Project partners.

For more information and to get involved, visit www.ruralyouthproject.com.