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Rural Connect embark on their journey of discovery

Published Wednesday, 30th January 2013 in Study at SRUC news

Rural Connect

A recent event held by the Rural Connect project at SRUC Oatridge has highlighted the importance of strong community links in West Lothian.

The Rural Connecting Day brought together many organisations and groups which work in rural West Lothian. Participants such as Historic Scotland, West Lothian Council and the Royal Highland Education Trust discussed the public’s engagement with the area, ways of increasing this involvement and learned more about the project.

Eric Burton, Rural Connect Project Coordinator, said: “This event has shown just how strong a role the countryside has to play in connecting people to each other and how important those connections can be. We want to help develop the West Lothian’s community spirit further by offering new ways to discover and share what the area has to offer.”

During the Rural Connecting Day the groups spent time talking about Rural Connect’s three themes: Discover, Share, Connect. It was a brilliant forum for gathering ideas and thanks to the enthusiasm of those taking part Rural Connect now has many fantastic possibilities to take forward as they plan their future activities.

They will consider how to give the West Lothian community a truly local feel where people know what is going on and have an awareness of everything the area has to offer. They will develop activities that will benefit local people in both the short and long term. For example, a short course on veg growing will teach people some essential gardening skills now but the friendships they make there could last years. Rural Connect will also look to promote all the fantastic free opportunities the countryside has to offer.

The project – which is run from SRUC’s Oatridge Campus – is funded until September 2014 by LEADER, Lottery Heritage Funding and SRUC. Rural Connect aims to engage with people who live in West Lothian and help them discover, share and connect to their rural environment.  This includes all aspects of rural industry, agriculture, horticulture, rural skills and careers, and environmental conservation.

Rural Connect is keen to get involved with as many communities, organisations and groups in West Lothian as possible so for more information please get in touch with Eric Burton, Rural Connect Project Co-ordinator, at or phone 01506 864800. Find us on Facebook at

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