According to a recent survey conducted by Halifax, the countryside around Cambridge is the best place to live in rural Britain. It scored well for its mix of high incomes, life expectancy, good health and high educational standards. Apparently the good weather experienced there was also a factor.
The survey examined every rural location and scored them on criteria ranging from the size of homes, traffic flow, employment and crime, to the aforementioned weather and exam results, to create a chart of desirable places to live.
However, there is another side to rural living, especially as we age. Within 20 years half the adult population in England will be aged 50 years and over, and will account for 40% of the total population. Rural areas are ageing at a faster rate than urban areas and the fastest rate of growth is amongst the oldest old (age 85 years and over).
Age UK is a partner to Over the hill?, a multi-media project that examines the housing and financial problems faced by older people in the English countryside. As their recent report sets out, we are living through a time of unprecedented social and economic change which has seen substantial reductions in public spending and will require local communities to do more to provide their own services according to their needs.
It is not all doom and gloom however; the project highlights how, all across England, older people are devising and delivering innovative solutions to the challenges they experience living in rural communities, in partnership with voluntary and statutory agencies. The report features 8 case studies and a DVD has also been produced. A number of these show that rural communities are in the vanguard of the new ‘localism’ and demonstrate the importance and contribution of older people to the communities in which they live.
Find out more at http://www.ruralmedia.co.uk/over-the-hill-question/