Slower broadband and lack of job opportunities frustrate rural dwellers

Aspects of life that frustrate rural dwellers are slower broadband (63%) and a lack of job opportunities (45%), according to research by Macra na Feirme for its ‘Know Your Neighbour’ campaign.

The campaign, which is in partnership with Calor, aims to bring everyone together at community events, to get to know these neighbours and establish a strong support network, Macra President Sean Finan has said.

A lack of amenities (59%) and a lack of local infrastructure (48%) are also among the grievances of rural dwellers.

The research has found that urban and rural dwellers have conflicting priorities with ‘peace and quiet’ selected as a positive aspect of living in a rural community according to 75% of people while 89% of urban dwellers believe that convenience is king.

Proximity to friends and family is important universally with 40% of rural dwellers and 53% of urban dwellers saying that it is a positive aspect of where they live.

Other priorities for rural dwellers include friendly people (60%), a sense of community (45%) and a feeling of security (34%).

In contrast to the top grievances of rural dwellers, urbanites appreciate the availability of entertainment facilities (34%), public transport links (31%) and job opportunities (24%).

However, they are frustrated by traffic and congestion (56%), the cost of living (42%), noise (35%) and having to live in smaller accommodation (23%).

Sense of community

Some 71% of adults feel that children today feel a lesser sense of community than they themselves did growing up in Ireland, the research found. This rises to 75% of adults living in urban communities.

Similarly, not being familiar with neighbours is more prevalent in urban communities with almost one in six (14%) saying that they do not know their neighbours at all, versus just one in 20 (5%) of people in rural communities.

Commenting at the launch of the campaign, the Macra President said that those living in isolated parts of the country with limited access to services rely on their closest neighbours for support, security and friendship.

“I am encouraging every community, rural or urban, to get involved.”

Turbulent relationships

When it comes to turbulent relations with neighbours, one in five adults (20%) admit that they have had a row with their neighbour, the research found.

Furthermore, it found that males are more likely to fall-out with a neighbour than females (24% compared to 17%).

When it comes to what’s causing this unneighbourly behaviour, one in 10 adults (11%) admit to putting their rubbish in a neighbours bin.

A further 3% admitting that they would do this if they thought they could get away with it and, it would seem that this has not gone unnoticed with one in six adults (16%) suspecting their neighbours of putting rubbish in their bin.

While most people (90%) say believe that it’s at least somewhat likely that their neighbour would give a ball back if it was kicked over their fence, one in 10 (10%) do not believe that their neighbour would oblige.

Broadcaster and campaign ambassador, Síle Seoige, who launched the campaign, said that as a native of the village of Spiddal in Galway, she knows how much those living in rural communities can rely on their neighbours and how important a strong sense of community is.

“This summer, I’m delighted to be working on this campaign with Calor and Macra na Feirme, asking people, whether in an urban or rural setting to organise a community event in order for neighbours to get to know one another.”

Most people (41%) say that although they are friendly with their neighbours , they would not socialise with them, however, people in rural communities are far more likely to socialise with their neighbours with 21% saying that they would versus just 11% in urban areas.

Speaking at the launch of the 2016 campaign, Sharon Nolan, Marketing Manager, Calor, said that at Calor they understand what makes living in a rural community so special, and also understand that it brings with it its own challenges.

“We operate in rural Ireland where we support homeowners, rural enterprises and larger industries by providing a cleaner, efficient fuel source for communities who cannot avail of natural gas.

“We are delighted to partner with Macra na Feirme in this campaign as it allows us to provide support to the communities in which we operate.”

Macra na Feirme is calling on communities nationwide to host a local event this summer to encourage neighbours to get to know each other better.

Any group or individual planning an event should register for an organiser’s on the Know Your Neighbour website. The organisers pack will include helpful ideas, posters, t-shirts and balloons to help make the event successful.