Our Hidden Somerset reports are designed to raise awareness of some of the important issues affecting people in Somerset and the great work being done by local charities and groups to tackle some of our biggest challenges.
Thanks to generous funding from The Fairfield Charitable Trust, the first report, Rural Isolation, was published in July 2019. Further reports, each of which will focus on a different issue, including homelessness and social mobility, are planned to follow later this year and into 2020.
Hidden Somerset: Rural Isolation - read the full report here
The research highlights that:
- There are a number of hidden needs in Somerset linked to rural isolation including loneliness, poor access to vital services such as GP surgeries, shops and banks, and significant barriers to opportunities for work and learning
- Lack of access to transport is the most significant issue for all age groups – in parts of Exmoor, for example, households are an average of 40 minutes away from their nearest food store and 50 minutes away from a GP
- Younger people in rural communities are more likely to be working multiple, seasonal jobs with lower pay which, combined with high housing costs, means home ownership is impossible for many young families and forces many to move away
- Though there have been significant improvements in access to broadband, a lack of digital skills and access to high speed broadband and mobile data are still significant barriers for many. Remote areas of Somerset also have few free WifI hotspots, creating financial barriers to getting online and accessing learning and employment opportunities