Join the conversation on the rural economy

David Whitelaw, Lindores Abbey Distillery; Alison Milne, co-chair of the National Council of Rural Advisers (NCRA); Michelle Morton, Michelle Morton Art, Ceramic and Design and Cordon Farm Flowers; and Piotr Gudan, Outdoor Explore.
David Whitelaw, Lindores Abbey Distillery; Alison Milne, co-chair of the National Council of Rural Advisers (NCRA); Michelle Morton, Michelle Morton Art, Ceramic and Design and Cordon Farm Flowers; and Piotr Gudan, Outdoor Explore.

One of the biggest consultations in recent years on the future of the rural economy in Scotland opened last week and everyone in South Ayrshire who has an interest in rural matters is urged to get involved.

The consultation is being coordinated by the National Council of Rural Advisers (NCRA), an independent body providing advice and recommendations on rural policy to the Scottish Government.

NCRA co-chair Alison Milne said: “The rural economy has huge untapped potential that we are building a strategy to unleash, and you can be a part of it.

“We know that people in rural areas often feel excluded and that there is no focal point for them locally, and we want to change that.

“Now is the ideal time to be bold and ambitious and change the traditional narrative around the rural economy of Scotland and the opportunity it presents.

“It is true that we have been here before but now more than ever we have the opportunity to deliver.

“We need you to look at the recommendations we have outlined and bring your ideas, creativity and vision to help us make our rural economy the heart-beat of Scotland’s future.

“So whether you are a B&B owner in Troon, a horse rider in Maidens, a golfer in Girvan, a teacher or nurse in Ayr or a farmer in Maybole, we want to hear from you.”

The consultation focuses on three key areas – people, vision and infrastructure – and comprises ten questions on various issues, including how best to create valuable employment opportunities, how to effectively represent the contribution and value of the rural Scotland, what skills are needed to encourage entrepreneurship and how to ensure that infrastructure is fit for purpose.

Submissions and comments on the discussion document must be submitted before Tuesday, July 24, 2018, and the final report will be out in the autumn. Go to online at www.ncra.scot