In our final discussion on FERNCAST in 2022, we caught up with Dr Ian Merrell of the SRUC who previously studied the impact of business hubs in rural communities. As part of our chat this week, Ian discussed ways in which different funding streams have alternative outcomes for remote work hubs.

Ian’s research highlights significant changes in the rural economy over the past several years and the impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had on the sector. Covid-19 has had a significant impact on rural communities around the world. Many rural areas have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic due to a variety of factors.

The Future Economic Rural Network (FERN) is a program aimed at supporting economic development in rural communities in the United Kingdom. It was launched in 2019 as an independent think tank and dialogue between economic actors currently operating and those looking to enter the rural business sector.

FERN is designed to support rural communities by helping them access the resources and expertise they need to develop and grow. It provides funding, technical assistance, and other support to help rural communities build the infrastructure, businesses, and institutions they need to thrive.

The focus of FERN is on promoting sustainable economic development in rural communities. This includes supporting a diverse range of economic activities, such as agriculture, forestry, tourism, and manufacturing. It also includes promoting the development of small businesses and entrepreneurship in rural areas.

The Future Economic Rural Network is an important programme that is helping to support economic development in rural communities across Europe. By providing resources and expertise to these communities, FERN is helping to create jobs and build stronger, more sustainable economies in rural areas.