Across many countries, rural areas are face similar challenges, such as a diminishing local services, economic and employment issues, as well as demographic changes with increasing older population and out migration of young people. There is a need to find new tools to assist rural communities to address these challenges and ensure sustainability.
Social enterprises are businesses which trade but reinvest their profits into their social or environmental aims. Some may also achieve their aims by the way in which they run their business, for example by training and employing people who find it difficult to get a job.
There are a wealth of examples of rural social enterprise running community shops, fuel filling stations, older peoples services, community cinemas, swimming pools, youth services, and the list goes on. The concept is, however, relatively novel in rural development across much of Europe. ‘ViSENet’ is an Erasmus Project which is developing tools, resources, guidance and networking, bringing together examples of good practice in relation to rural social enterprise.
Open access learning materials are available here:
Community Activation and Participation – ensuring wide community involvement
- Defining your community
- Community Engagement
- Needs and Opportunities
- Prioritising and Action Planning
- Unlocking Assets within the Community
- Stakeholder Engagement
Networking and Partnerships – learning from and working with others
- Social Enterprise Networking
- How to Organise Networking Activities
- ViSENet Networking
- Guidance for Digital Networking
- Learning Exchanges
- Partnership Working
Social Enterprise Solutions for Rural Challenges
We have a great consortium of partners which supports new approaches to local community and social entrepreneurship based on the combination of diverse fields of knowledge and competences, says researchers.
University of Helsinki Ruralia Institute, Finland (coordinator)