We have been working with rural communities on understanding the available data, to get a clearer picture of rural needs and deprivation than is provided from a single source such as the Index of Multiple Deprivation. We recently launched the “Evidencing rural need” project and website resource, commissioned by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE). The website provides information needed to effectively represent rural issues, presenting key indicators for rural places across England.
As a follow-up to the project, we’ve been talking to rural community groups, and running workshops on how they can understand what the data actually means in their area, picking out the key stories from the analysis, and identifying how this can be used to influence local policy and service delivery (with Action for Rural Sussex providing very useful examples of how the information can be used successfully at local level). We are in the process of developing learning resources from these workshops, which will be disseminated to the ACRE network of rural community groups.