Anna Morrell, Church in Wales
A series of seminars launched at the Royal Welsh Show has been praised by the Archbishop of Wales for bringing people together to tackle the challenges facing rural communities.
The “Rural Hub” is a Church in Wales partnership with the Welsh Assembly Government and the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society. It was launched last year to address the needs of today’s rural communities and raise awareness of the issues facing them.
So far eight seminars have taken place, bringing together clergy in rural parishes and members of rural agencies to look at ways of approaching problems such as affordable housing, declining communities and unemployment, the future of the rural economy and the effect of changes to CAP on rural communities. In each of the sessions the focus was on what churches could do with others to provide pastoral care and support. A further four will be held over the next few months.
The Archbishop, Dr Barry Morgan, said, “The Hub is a great example of the ‘Big Society’ in practice. As a church with parishes in every part of Wales we are all too aware of the problems in rural communities. But we believe they can be tackled if all those involved in providing help, support and care work together and use each other.”
Canon Robin Morrison, who coordinates the Rural Life Advisors in the Church in Wales, with Revd Richard Kirlew, the national lead on Rural Affairs, said, “The Hub has been very successful and is probably unique in the UK. The partnership with the Welsh Government and the RWAS illustrates a new way of working for the churches in Wales. It has brought together people who are committed to making a real difference to rural communities and we are grateful to all the speakers who have contributed.”
All the Hub seminars take place at the Royal Welsh Showground. The next one will be on September 16 and will focus on rural identity and belonging.