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Copyright RRCA 2013
Work with rural communities is a consistent thread in RRCA’s work, from working with the community in Slaley to develop their Village Plan, to helping The Glendale Gateway Trust consider the wishes and needs of their community.
Many of the research projects and active discussions we are asked to work on have as their backdrop concerns about the implications of an ageing community. Most of the commissions we receive begin from the premise that more should be done to enable older people to stay in local communities as long as they want to, but there is also a need to ensure that villages and rural towns are sustainable and stay vibrant places.
To think about the broader issues and needs and what to do about them is a huge undertaking for many rural communities. Those who decide to tackle a plan for the future need a backbone of support.
RRCA works with local communities to help them develop their skills and know how. We don’t want to close off options, instead we want to help people rethink the options and to take on board the full range of possibilities they have to plan the future. Green issues including cheaper and sustainable energy are top priorities for most rural populations. Encouraging mixed communities and attracting work including developing social enterprises are other options.
We are able to provide a full package of skills to work with local communities and we understand rural issues, since we are part of that landscape ourselves.
We have also developed a new area of work with London Rebuilding Society to evaluate some of the latest green technology initiatives in people’s homes. London Rebuilding Society had initiated a programme called Shimmer which amongst other things enables householders to enjoy warmer homes and achieve lower emission rates while householders also have much lower energy bills.
In 2012 we designed a package of measures to assess the benefits Shimmer provided for social housing tenants. Martin Berry and Steve Riseborough led this work. The report and the tools we developed are our client’s property but we are happy to talk about the work we did, which involved some highly innovative ways to assess energy and warmth that can be understood by customers.