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17 October 2008
Researchers from the University are involved in a novel interdisciplinary research project to find out if rural Britain really is a grey and pleasant land for its ageing population.
Cardiff, along with its research partners, has been awarded more than £1.3M to investigate how older people living in rural Wales and South West England interact with their local community, and what social and economic issues are important to them.
The study will focus on the quality of life of older people in rural areas by analysing the extent of their involvement in their communities, leisure patterns and cultural interests. It will also address the barriers and opportunities for participation that they experience and their attitudes to the countryside as a social, cultural and environmental space.
Examples of some of the innovative methods being used to engage older rural people to communicate their experiences include a film, a museum exhibition, an art-based book, interactive websites and videoconferences.
From the findings, the research team will be able to offer policy and practical recommendations about how to promote older people in rural areas as community assets and create awareness of the contribution that older people actually make to their communities. In addition it is hoped that the project will ensure that the concerns important to older people living in rural settings receive attention.
Professor Paul Milbourne, from the School of City of Regional Planning is leading Cardiff’s involvement in the project: "I am very much looking forward to working on this project. Relatively little research has been undertaken on the quality of life of older people in rural places. The project will provide the first comprehensive investigation of the experiences of older people in rural England and Wales.
"It will employ an innovative mix of quantitative and qualitative methods to explore the social and cultural connectivities of older people in six localities, three of which will be in Wales. Cardiff will take responsibility for researching the theme of well-being, examining problems of material poverty, social exclusion and cultural marginalisation amongst older people in rural areas."
The three year study entitled Grey and Pleasant Land?: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of the Connectivity of Older People in Rural Civic Society has been funded under the ‘New Dynamics of Ageing’ programme, a collaboration between five UK Research Councils.
Cardiff’s partners in the study are the University of Plymouth, Bournemouth University, Swansea University and University of the West of England.
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