Forum for Rural Research on Health and Wellbeing

Over 10 million people live in rural areas in the UK. The reality for many people living in rural, compared to urban, areas is one of health inequality (e.g. access to healthcare services, lack of adequate funding, healthcare staff recruitment and retention difficulties), social isolation, and a lack of adequate transport services. Yet, rural populations remain under-represented in research on health and wellbeing. 

Forum for Rural Research on Health and Wellbeing (FRRESH)

The Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences in collaboration with Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Community Animation and Social Innovation Centre and New Vic Borderlines have established a new initiative, which we have called FRRESH. FRRESH is the Forum for Rurual Research on Health and Wellbeing. This initiative aims to address the current rural gap in research through community engagement to drive research development. The forum has been established to provide a fresh perspective on rural health and wellbeing and is funded by Keele Innovation Fund.

We aim to deliver four interactive workshops to engage with a diverse range of rural stakeholders from across Staffordshire and Shropshire including academics, clinicians, NHS commissioners, members of the public, council members and services, and third sector organisations. At the end of the initiative (2019), we will host a large community engagement event to share key messages about rural health challenges.

28th November 2017 - Redwoods Centre, Shrewsbury, Shropshire The theme of this workshop centred upon identifying rural health and well-being challenges. Our guest speaker Alison Marshall from the University of Cumbria gave her insights into setting up a rural health forum providing key lessons for the development of FRRESH.

Workshop One: Summary Report (1,723 KB)

31st May 2018 – Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek, Staffordshire The theme of this workshop emerged from discussion in workshop one and focused around a concept known as “Rural Proofing”. Dr John Wynn-Jones and Jane Randall-Smith provided an in-depth inspection of rural proofing and to develop policy to meet the needs of rural populations.

Workshop Two: Summary Report (964 KB)

18th December 2018 – Rodbaston Hall, Penkridge, Staffordshire The theme for the workshop was “Rural Innovation”. Nikki Silver from the third sector organisation LIVES shared the story of her organisation and how their team of volunteers respond to emergency situations in rural settings. See flyer for more details.

Workshop Three (837 KB)