SCOTLAND IS soon to be home to the world's first rural youth dedicated Smart Village - coming this Winter 2020.

Leading the launch is Scotland's Rural Youth Project (RYP), which this time last year was highly commended in the annual 'Helping it Happen' awards for its efforts in inspiring and developing the next generation of rural leaders.

The team at RYP hope this new exciting digital platform will provide a space for young people to connect, build or expand their enterprise and leaderships skills and to trade - championing young people to collaboratively build vibrant, creative, and sustainable rural economies in the places they call home.

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Co-Founders and Directors of the RYP, Jane Craigie and Rebecca Dawes, said: “The RYP Smart Village is an opportunity to provide a digital place that really benefits young people in many aspects of their rural lives.

“We are particularly excited about the marketplace where young people can sell products and services, as a buyer from Smart Village ‘shops’ you will know that for every pound you spend, that you will be supporting a Scottish young person and investing back into their local rural community.

“It will also be a space for young people to network and form mentoring relationships with their peers and, also older business and community leaders, while also having access to learning resources to support them in building a vibrant, creative and sustainable rural economy in Scotland.

“With other Smart Villages in development across Scotland, this will be the first dedicated rural youth Smart Village in the world thus is certain to attract both European and international partners as it establishes.”


Ashely Petrie from Smart Village Scotland - which has partnered with the RYP to create the world's first rural youth dedicated Smart Village - explained that the platform will be, 'strategically designed to solve the big challenges faced by young people at local and national levels.'

Chair of Rural Perth and Kinross LEADER Programme and Chief Executive of Growbiz Scotland, Jackie Brierton, said: “The RYP received £191,170 support from the LEADER Programme 2014-2020: The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas. The funding comes from five regions in Scotland. We’re therefore delighted that a vibrant Smart Village community, built for and by young people, is being developed to support our five LEADER areas; Angus, Lanarkshire, Outer Hebrides, Rural Perth and Kinross and the Scottish Borders, which will leave a lasting legacy for those rural young people and communities.

“Covid19 has brought young people and communities many additional challenges and this is a fantastic opportunity for young people to get involved and develop new skills to be part of shaping the future for their community," she continued. "The next phase of a longer-term programme to reach out to all areas of Scotland and enable all young people to participate and become the next generation of rural leaders.”

Ahead of the RYP Smart Village launching this Winter 2020, young people have been urged to join a focus group being held today at 6pm (September 10) to help shape the platform and ensure it benefits rural youth.

Those wishing to register to attend can do so via Eventbrite -