SCOTTISH RURAL Action is holding a two day conference next month to explore the 'challenges and opportunities' facing rural Scotland.

Organisers want representatives from rural communities, businesses and organisations to kick start a ‘rural movement’ that will make rural Scotland’s voice 'heard in the corridors of government'.

The event will take place from on February 26 and 27, at the New Lanark Visitor Centre. Speakers and contributors will include rural economy cabinet secretary Fergus Ewing, Robin McAlpine of Common Weal, Katherine Trebeck of the Wellbeing Alliance, former MEP Aileen Macleod, and managing director of Clydesdale Community Initiatives, Niall McShannon.

The conference will also include a choice of field visits and a range of workshops on topics such as climate change, repopulation, community development and rural engagement.

Acting chair of Scottish Rural Action, Vanessa Halhead, said: “This is a critically important time of change, and this conference is an opportunity for individuals and organisations to influence and inform policy and activity that affects the people who live and work in rural Scotland.

“More than 90% of Scotland is classed as rural, with 20% of Scotland’s population living in those rural areas, so it is absolutely essential that the needs of rural communities are met. Scottish Rural Action has been tasked by the Scottish Government with starting a ‘rural movement’ that will make sure the voice of rural Scotland is heard. This conference is the starting point of creating that rural movement.”

Scottish Rural Action also organises the Scottish Rural Parliament, which is scheduled to take place later this year.

The conference is free of charge to attend. Full details and the conference programme can be found at