August 2011 Newsletter

Trustees

Retirement of Malcolm Moseley

Malcolm became a trustee in 2001 and for ten years he has supported the Trust and been a very valuable trustee. He has helped the Trust through two major changes, the retirement of Elizabeth Higgs as Chairman and the retirement of John Bryden as director. He was very supportive and always ready to give his very valuable advice where and when it was needed. I would like to thank him for all that he has done for the Trust and for the support that he has given me as Chairman. We, the trustees, will miss him and would like to wish him well in his retirement.

New Appointments

Further to our last newsletter, the Trust is delighted to announce that Kate Braithwaite and Mark Shucksmith, who have both worked with the Trust in the past, have accepted the invitation to become trustees.

Kate has worked as the Director of Carnegie UK Trust Rural Programme for six years. Previously a Chief Executive of Voluntary Action Cumbria (Cumbria’s Rural Community Council), she has pioneered rural women's networks and social enterprises, and has managed LEADER and other EU funded programmes and  was awarded a MBE in Millennium Honours for services to rural communities,

Mark is well known for his research on social exclusion in rural areas, rural housing and rural development. He is Professor of Planning at Newcastle University, and was formerly Co-Director (with John Bryden) of the Arkleton Centre for Rural Development Research at Aberdeen University.  In addition to his research and teaching, Mark continues to be a Commissioner with the Commission for Rural Communities, 2005-2012, responsible for advising the Government on rural policy. He also chaired the Committee of Inquiry on Crofting for the Scottish Government 2007-08.

In 2009 Mark was awarded an OBE for services to rural development and to crofting.

Arkleton Trust Partnership Opportunities

In the last newsletter we announced our 2011 fellowships on “Social networking; its Contribution to Sustainable Rural Development”.  The response was very disappointing.  It would appear that in the time lapse between conceiving the idea for the theme of our fellowships and announcing it several other organisations (with much more money than us) were also working on the same topic.  Over the last few years the number of people applying for Arkleton Fellowships has declined.  Many students either want to be funded for their tuition fees or maybe find the topics too restrictive for study purposes.  The Trust is keen not to loose its innovative edge or to loose the focus on rurality and finding niche areas where it can excel.  At the AGM in May it was suggested that maybe the Trust could work in partnership with organisations already working within the chosen themes, to progress an innovative topic or provide an ‘add on’, niche element to existing work.  It was felt that much innovative work was being done but (as usual) rural issues were often forgotten or secondary. By working with a larger organisation there would be the power of their reach but by providing funds for a discrete area to add value, the Trust would not loose its identity.  It was felt that the fellowship topic of social networking, whilst a very fast moving area, was still a topic of value.  However, to ensure that this is the right area for us to be working within the Trust also wishes to explore a second option.  The second theme is Climate change:  a source of new opportunities for the future sustainability of rural communities.”

This second option builds on our previous theme of mapping rural community responses to climate change and the various adaptation strategies adopted.  To date, the issue of climate change has tended to focus on the perceived (and, in some cases, real) threats to rural areas and communities and, as a result, the need for mitigation or adaptation to counter the adverse impacts.   However, it is proposed that the new theme would focus on the more positive aspects of climate change and the opportunities it presents to rural communities for the future and the various mechanisms needed to exploit them.   

What are the opportunities?  These could include the following areas:

  • New crops e.g. for energy
  • Local foods
  • Local fuel generation and distribution
  • Local business development, including co-operatives and social enterprises
  • New service opportunities
  • Increased social opportunities (e.g. more localised work and services resulting in increased community cohesion, less need for travel etc.).

Therefore, theTrust is pursuing two topics to try to identify possible partners.  The two topics are “Social networking; its Contribution to Sustainable Rural Development” andClimate change:  a source of new opportunities for the future sustainability of rural communities.” 

The Trust would, therefore, like to ask all Friends of the Arkleton Trust if they could identify any person or group, which they know of, pursuing innovative work / research in any of the areas covered by the two themes.  From this we hope to choose a partner and pool our budget for the next two to three years into a partnership arrangement whereby the Trust can add something of value to the knowledgebase being worked upon.  The work we fund will need to be clearly identifiable as Arkleton work and not just part of the overall funding for another organisation’s project.

Please forward this information to anyone within your network who you believe may be working in any of these fields and interested in a partnership approach.  Any nominations for the above should be sent to Nicola Swan, at Nicola@arkletontrust.co.uk.

Barefoot College, Rajasthan India

At the 2007 Arkleton Trust Seminar one of our attendees was Bunker Roy from Barefoot College in India. Established in 1972, Barefoot College is a non-government organisation which has been providing basic services and solutions to problems in rural communities, with the objective of making them self-sufficient and sustainable. These ‘Barefoot solutions’ can be broadlycategorised into solar energy, water, education, health care, rural handicrafts, people’s action, communication, women’s empowerment and wasteland development.  We are please to pass on the news that Barefoot College has just been announced as one of two winners of the prestigious Blue Planet Prize from Japan. This is the 20th year of the Blue Planet Prize, the international environmental award sponsored by the Asahi Glass Foundation, chaired by Tetsuji Tanaka. Two Blue Planet Prizes are awarded to individuals or organisations each year for their outstanding achievement in scientific research and its application, and which in so doing help to solve global environmental problemsFor the 2011 Blue Planet Prize there were a total of 800 nominations from Japan and 1,200 nominations from other countries recommending 89 candidates.

We would like congratulate Bunker Roy and the team at Barefoot College.

Caroline Higgs