Alnwick Garden conference to highlight rural issues

Alnwick Gardens and Castle. Picture: Adam Chetter.Alnwick Gardens and Castle. Picture: Adam Chetter.
Alnwick Gardens and Castle. Picture: Adam Chetter.
Innovative businesses and rural community groups are invited to attend an event next month to shine a light on issues facing the rural economy.

The Rural Design Centre Innovation Project (RDCIP) and the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise (NICRE) are delivering a full-day conference at The Alnwick Garden on October 7.

With high-profile speakers, the event will bring together organisations and individuals with an interest in rural innovation and enterprise, with the aim of strengthening local networks, highlighting rural issues and working together towards viable solutions.

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The event will be chaired by Lord Curry of Kirkharle, chairman of the Prince’s Countryside Fund, president of Community Action Northumberland and chairman of the Rural Design Centre (RDC).

Lord Curry of KirkhaleLord Curry of Kirkhale
Lord Curry of Kirkhale

He said: “The issues facing rural areas have been well documented over the past decade. There are, though, numerous opportunities to use technology, innovation and new ways of thinking to tackle these issues and realise the potential for sustainable growth.”

Speakers include Sarah Dunning, chief executive of Westmorland Ltd, who revolutionised roadside services by turning Tebay into an award-winning destination and Tom Heap, the BBC’s Rural Affairs correspondent and regular contributor to Countryfile and Panorama.

The event will move to looking at four key challenges which face rural communities – transforming market towns, net zero, rural mobility and landscape use – giving local businesses in attendance the opportunity to work directly alongside industry professionals and academics from both Newcastle and Northumbria Universities to share their own experiences and help to shape future activity in these areas.

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It is proposed to deliver the conference online and in person. There is no cost to attend. To register visit

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