‘PEOPLE, PURPOSE AND PASSION’ will be the focus of the second Rural Youth Project Ideas Festival which is back by popular demand and due to take place between Friday November 29 and Sunday December 1 in Biggar.

Over 60 young people working and living across rural Scotland, the UK and Europe are set to gather for the three-day free event at Wiston Lodge, Biggar, for the opportunity to develop their leadership business and enterprise skills.

The RYP is passionate about making rural places an attractive and viable place for young people to build their future and is determined to equip delegates with the tools to help them play their part in making this a reality.

Over the course of the weekend festival goers will take part in a range of thought-provoking workshops, outdoor and indoor activities and will have plenty of time to mingle with fellow attendees and enjoy some delicious food; including a special St Andrews Day banquet of Scotch Lamb provided by Quality Meat Scotland and followed by a ceilidh.

Following on from an inspiring line-up of speakers at last year’s festival in Kinross, delegates can once more look forward to a number of motivating local and international speakers who will challenge them to think differently about the challenges and opportunities young rural people face.

One of the Rural Youth Project delegates Anna Kelso took part in a learning journey to the Netherlands in May, in collaboration with Scottish Enterprise and will be speaking at the event. Anna is a food worker with Ayrshire Food Hub and has a powerful story about overcoming adversity which the organisers hope will inspire delegates to create change. “I grew up in one of the most deprived areas of Scotland – East Ayrshire. The reality is that a lot of people are living in poverty in rural places, and this challenge is amplified by isolation. Most people don’t want a hand-out – they want a hand up, and I’m excited to share with delegates what the Ayrshire Food Hub is doing to help build and empower our rural community.”

Practical workshops will feature throughout the festival weekend with Rosemary Scrimgeour – who runs rural architecture practice Building Workshop with husband Ben - leading a session on Design Thinking, a human-centred approach to creating new and innovative ideas and solving problems.

“During a similar workshop I facilitated on our trip to the Netherlands, it was inspiring to see how creative and engaged everyone was in coming up with strategies and solutions in response to issues they are facing in rural places.

“I was introduced to Design Thinking on a SERLP learning trip to Memphis and have been inspired to study the innovative process further at Stanford University in the Silicon Valley. I’m looking forward to meeting and building the confidence of young people to help them make change in their lives and communities.”

Rural Youth Project Director, Jane Craigie, said that this year’s programme has been designed to give young people the tools and support to enact real and lasting change:

“We were blown away by the feedback from last year’s festival and wanted to ensure that delegates this year walk away not only inspired, but with tangible skills to develop businesses, social enterprises and community projects.

“There are so many impressive young people in our rural places who often go unnoticed and we want the project to discover and support them, because they are our countryside’s future,” she concluded.

The Festival is a residential weekend that is free of charge to attend with the option for some travel reimbursement for delegates living more than 20miles away from the venue. The event is targeted at 18-28-year olds with leadership ambition or potential (although young people up to 30 are considered) with delegates coming from across the UK and Europe. Anyone with an interest to attend can register their interest here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PSBYJB8