Rural communities at heart of new support venture


A brand new project is launching in the North of Tyne region which will focus on identifying issues facing rural communities, before working alongside local organisations and businesses to develop solutions with the opportunity to access grant funding to support the development of new products and services with the ultimate aim of alleviating these issues. 

Launching in early 2021, The Rural Design Centre Innovation Project is being delivered by Advance Northumberland in partnership with the Innovation SuperNetwork and Northumbria University and will be the first stream of activity to be undertaken through the Rural Design Centre. The Centre itself will provide a physical space for collaboration and innovation to take place and will launch once social distancing restrictions are lifted. Until then, the Rural Design Centre Innovation Project will deliver support virtually and has already started to work alongside local communities to develop Innovation Challenges which local organisations and local businesses will be invited to attend.  

Working alongside industry experts, a number of Innovation challenges will be delivered: bringing together a diverse mix of people with different expertise to encourage creativity through the different phases of the design process and deliver the things people want and need – be it rural housing with smart tech which is run on green energy, better connectivity for residents, local businesses and organisations and also for tourists visiting local ‘staycation’ hotspots. Addressing air quality issues and local supply chain needs by bringing in electric transport or investigating ways of making local deliveries during extreme weather. Whatever the issue is, this project will support the organisations undertaking this research and development.  Working with the people in our rural communities we will be finding out what issues need to be addressed, then bringing a whole mix of organisations together we can work together to find solutions to these issues.  

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