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Rural idyll?

Dr Simon Pemberton

Dr Simon Pemberton

Dr Eldin Fahmy

Dr Eldin Fahmy

Press release issued: 31 October 2008

New research from the University has documented the experience of rural poverty ‘through the eyes of’ those experiencing it.

New research from the University has documented the experience of rural poverty ‘through the eyes of’ those experiencing it.  Working in partnership with the Rural Media Company and using innovative video research methods the research describes the personal impact and consequences of rural poverty in Herefordshire.

The Big Lottery-funded research was conducted by Dr Eldin Fahmy and Dr Simon Pemberton in the School for Policy Studies. The research forms the basis for a 13 minute film to be broadcast on the Community Channel at 9.30 pm on 1 November and repeated on 2 November at 8.45 am, 2.45 pm, 8.45 pm and 2.45 am.

[Watch Community Channel on: Sky 539 | Virgin TV 233 | Freeview 87 - 6 am-9 am]

Dr Eldin Fahmy and Dr Simon Pemberton said: “Our research shows that people experiencing poverty are keen to have their say on the obstacles and barriers they face as a result of their financial circumstances.  They are very capable of making an important contribution to public debates on poverty, its causes, consequences and strategies for tackling it and should be supported in making their voices heard.”

The research uses cutting edge video research methods to enable research participants to record their own lives and experiences. These hard-hitting testimonies reveal that the widely held perception of the ‘rural idyll’ does not reflect the circumstances of people in living on low incomes in rural areas.

“People don’t understand the hidden costs of living in a rural area. We are marginalized”, said Emma, a lone parent and one of the contributors. “The dentist is in Hereford. We can get a bus there, but it takes an hour and costs £3 each."

The research documents the complex and difficult decisions involved in ‘making ends meet’ on low incomes – a situation compounded by rural isolation, poor access to services, high transport costs, and a lack of opportunities in remote rural areas.  At the same time the study also highlights the personal impact of poverty in terms of denial of rights, assault on dignity, stigma, isolation and powerlessness.


Further information

Project fieldwork involved video testimony from 33 people experiencing low income in rural Herefordshire and was conducted during summer 2007. Participants were recruited via local community and voluntary sector organisations providing services for people living on low incomes. Further details about the project and accompanying DVD are available from The Rural Media Company.
Please contact Joanne Fryer for further information.
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