Registration for the second Scottish Rural Parliament opened this week.
The event will be taking place on Thursday, October 6, to Saturday, October 8, this year at Brechin Community Campus in Angus.
The three-day event is expected to attract over 1000 people from across rural Scotland, and is billed as the ‘largest gathering of rural activists in Scotland’.
At this year’s event, it is expected that participants will produce a Manifesto for rural Scotland, outlining the needs and aspirations of rural communities.
The impact of the recent UK vote to leave the EU will be up for discussion along with topics such as community empowerment, healthcare, digital connectivity and transport.
Chair Amanda Burgauer said: “The Scottish Rural Parliament is an important event for rural communities, providing an opportunity to make real change happen across the country. It is an opportunity to share ideas and views with people from other rural communities, but also to speak as one voice in getting across the key needs and aspirations we have for rural Scotland. The event brings together senior decision makers with grassroots rural activists, so we can tackle the challenges we face and celebrate our achievements together.”
The event is sponsored by Caledonian MacBrayne, the operator of ferry services to island and remote mainland communities on the west coast.
Head of Public Affairs for CalMac David Cannon said: “Due to the very nature of our work, we have a keen insight into and a strong affinity with our communities.
“CalMac operates the UK’s largest ferry network, extending some 200 miles from Campbeltown and Arran in the south, to Stornoway in the north. It takes in some of the country’s most economically fragile areas and we are very alive to the sometimes unique issues faced by the people who choose to make these beautiful, but remote, areas home.
“The Scottish Rural Parliament has a commitment to give those living and working in rural areas a strong voice and we are proud to be part of this.”
Scottish Rural Action held over 40 events across rural Scotland from Shetland to the Borders as well as an online consultation in order to hear from rural communities and individuals ahead of the event. Some of the highlights that arose from these discussions included housing, health and social care, mental health services, young people, democracy, broadband, transport, enterprise and culture.
This years’ event is also supported by Angus Council. Commenting on the event Council leader Iain Gaul added: “We are delighted to have the Scottish Rural Parliament in Angus this year and look forward to welcoming delegates from across the country. Our new Brechin Community Campus is a fantastic venue for this gathering, which is such an important event for Scotland’s rural communities.
“The topics on this year’s programme are those that we are engaged with in Angus and we look forward to sharing our experiences and ambitions with delegates from across the country.”
The event incorporates three days of workshops, visits to local projects, high profile speakers, Angus food and drink, entertainment, fringe events and exhibition. To register their interest in attending participants should visit http://www.scottishruralparliament.org.uk/rural-parliament-2016