Attracting young people to rural life

From: Scottish Government
Published: Fri Mar 01 2024

Working together to develop the right solutions.

Young people will have a key role in supporting sustainable populations in rural and island regions.

The Addressing Depopulation Action Plan, published last week, commits the Scottish Government to working with Youth Scotland and the Young Islanders Network (YIN) to develop ideas to support and encourage young people to remain on, move to or return to the islands.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon launched YIN in August 2022 to provide children and young people living in island communities with a platform to make their voices heard, contribute to the implementation of the Scottish Government's National Islands Plan and engage with each other on issues that matter to them.

Ms Gougeon said:

“If we are going to address population decline, we need to work with and listen to young people living in rural areas and on islands to develop the right solutions and help them fulfil their ambitions. By working with the YIN, Youth Scotland and the Scottish Rural and Island Youth Parliament we have a real chance to remove the barriers that stop young people from enjoying all the benefits that rural and island life bring - unique employment opportunities, a strong sense of community and access to the best of Scotland's local produce and natural assets.

“We are going to help community councils to make better use of social media reach out to more people, and particularly younger generations, to be sure that have a say in improving local services. Our independent Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population will also take forward research looking at population trends, migration and mobility for young people in island and rural communities, with a particular focus on Gaelic-speaking communities.”

Andy Tait, Kaydence Drayak and Bryan Hauxwell from the Young Islanders Network said:

"The Young Islanders Network and young people in our communities, welcome the valuable opportunity to support and shape delivery of the Addressing Depopulation Action Plan by keeping the focus on what is important to us. It is important for us to share our experience's, local knowledge and needs now and for the future. Such as reliable transport, affordable housing, access to healthcare and sustainable jobs with opportunities for careers.

“For us to be effective in doing this, we need to be involved in our local communities at all levels and using this opportunity to understand the needs of young islanders. Working alongside other young people from across rural communities to learn and share will help to shape this.

“It is important that decisions about our lives are made now as part of a two-way conversation and not on our behalf. For us to be able to thrive, we need this to happen now, and not later when many of us may have had to leave our islands."


Addressing Depopulation Action Plan

Company: Scottish Government

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