During the pandemic the rural areas have risen in popularity. There was such an influx of city dwellers that at some point there were accommodation shortages so the demand could not be met. We don’t know what will happen after the end of the pandemic but we are hopeful that many will stay after the “rural experience”. To support this process, we have launched a programme called HolaPueblo (HelloVillage) aimed at social entrepreneurs willing to move to our local areas. We have had two calls for proposals so far and we are very pleased to have received 500 applications in 2020 which rose to 2000 in 2021!
In fact, we need a change of mindsets in the way we look at the rural areas and the lifestyle that can be achieved there. Also, village advocates need to catch the “inspiration bug” and dream up a “cool village” brand to inspire new ways of living for city dwellers. A colleague bought me a book called City Quitters which captures well the spirit of creative post-urban lives in rural areas.
So the trend has been established, however, we in the countryside can be our worst enemy. Parents and teachers encourage their children to go to the city for opportunities as 7 out of 10 rural teachers don’t return to their rural schools for the next academic year. This fact sends a clear message to students that working in local areas is not desirable. So we need to change perceptions to retain locals and attract city-dwellers to the countryside.