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Arthur Rank Centre – serving rural communit

Hardship in modern rural England is a hard truth to acknowledge. After all the majority of people in rural areas have household incomes that exceed the national average. We are told it can be better for our mental, physical and even spiritual health to live in the countryside.

The media celebrates country life as a positive lifestyle choice with countless articles, programmes and films that follow endless people on the now well-trodden path from grim city living to rural idyll. I recall the last ‘move to the country’ article I read, which followed a journalist and her husband from gloomy London to shiny Devon farmhouse, charmingly illustrated with a Boden-dressed toddler collecting her morning eggs from beneath a plush hen. A case study that passed across my desk recently made heavier reading. Robert was struggling to keep his farm business afloat and care for his sick wife and two young children. With no one to help out on the farm, in just a few months, he watched his lifetime’s work and his family’s home disappear.

The truth is, for all its beauty, life in the countryside can be tough. Over 900,000 rural households live in poverty, and the poor, the isolated and the vulnerable are all too often hidden from view and

far from help. The rural

population is ageing; pressure on housing; the cost of living in the countryside, transport, closure of local services, rising fuel and food prices all create pressure in everyday life. Of course these issues aren’t peculiar to rural people; they can affect anyone, wherever they live. But rural people often find it more difficult to access help, which is why problems such as depression, stress, relationship difficulties, health, finance, neighbour disputes, business difficulties can go undiagnosed and unheard.

Church congregations can show great imagination and resilience in their response to the hardship that can be found right on our doorsteps. But sometimes they need help and that is where the Arthur Rank Centre’s raft of resources, training and projects come in. By serving as a focus for the work of the churches in rural areas through the sharing of good practice, provision of training and resources and by

forging links between rural and urban communities the ARC ultimately aims to strengthen rural communities and their churches. Inevitably the more troubling aspects of rural community life


arthur rank centre

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