L-to-R Jane Craigie and Rebecca Dawes© Jane Craigie Marketing

A project that aims to identify and engage young rural leaders who can make positive changes in their communities is under way.

The Rural Youth Project seeks to better understand the challenges and opportunities perceived by young people, aged 18 to 28, living in rural areas.

The project coincides with the Year of Young People 2018 and will combine an online survey, video logs by 15-20 young people from rural areas and a Rural Youth Ideas Festival in rural Scotland on 20-22 July.

See also: 20 key farming influencers for 2018

England, Scotland, Wales, Austria, Australia and the USA are target countries for the research.

The project aims to survey a wide range of rural young people including those working in education, farming, retail and hospitality, as well as those who are in full-time education or unemployed.

It is the brainchild of Jane Craigie and Rebecca Dawes, from Jane Craigie Marketing and is being supported by Lantra Scotland, the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC), Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Rural Action, Scottish Rural Network and YouthLink Scotland.­­­­­­

Online survey

Ms Dawes said: “Rural areas have a lower percentage of 16-34 year olds and evidence suggests that migration of young people away from rural areas hinges on education, employment opportunities, housing and public transport availability – some of the many areas that we are surveying.”

Penny Montgomerie, chief executive of SAYFC, added: “Young people need to have the confidence to drive policy and influence decision-makers on matters that impact them rather than relying on older generations to make presumptions on their needs.”

The survey opened on 26 January and will close on 30 April 2018.