Rural Housing Week | Resources for residents and tenants
Rural parts of the county have been hit especially hard by the rising cost of living this year. Soaring energy bills combined with higher transport costs and limited employment opportunities in rural areas are all putting a strain on those who live or work in rural communities.
This week’s Rural Housing Week, which runs from 4th to 8th July, highlights the current housing challenges in rural communities, including the hidden rural homelessness crisis and the need to level up jobs, pay and training opportunities for those who work in rural areas.
As part of this event, we’ve put together a useful list of resources for those living in rural areas including housing information, energy advice, debt support, food bank details and mental health resources.
Affordable Housing Options
If you’ve been struggling to find an affordable home in a rural part of the county, there are a range of options available to help you either buy an affordable home (including building your own home) or rent an affordable home. For more information, contact Right Home Right Place.
Rural Housing Schemes
A number of housing associations and providers operate in rural areas throughout the county, including STAR Housing and Shropshire Rural Housing Association. All affordable rural housing options are assessed and provided initially through Shropshire HomePoint – you can find out more about how it works here.
Homelessness doesn’t only affect larger towns; a CPRE report in December found that homelessness in rural communities had almost doubled in recent years, and has assembled a task force to end rough sleeping in both towns and rural areas by 2024. If you’re worried about housing or facing a housing emergency in your area, there’s a range of advice and support available here.
Heating & Electricity
If you’re worried about energy bills, the Marches Energy Agency provides advice and information on available options. They can answer your queries on energy tariffs and billing concerns, check your suitability for grant funding for heating and insulation and have access to a limited crisis fund for emergencies. Shropshire Council also lists advice for those concerned about energy costs, and Shropshire Green Energy Centre offers information on energy-saving grants.
The cost of living is driving up demand for food banks across the county, including in rural areas. The Shropshire Star recently published a complete list of food banks across Shropshire, while Shropshire Food Poverty outlines a range of resources including Shropshire Larder and Shrewsbury Food Hub.
Mental Health & Wellbeing
Together4All is a free-to-access online community for Shropshire residents aged 16 and over, which provides free self-guided courses and assessment tools to support you in improving your mental health. Shropshire Council has an extensive list of support options here, while the national charity YANA (You Are Not Alone) provides help for those involved in farming or other rural businesses.
There are a variety of grants and funding options available for eligible Shropshire businesses or those considering starting a business in a rural area. The Marches Growth Hub is the first port of call.
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, the Citizens Advice Bureau provides lots of links and advice, while national charities like Step Change can help with things like debt management plans, creditor settlements, debt relief, and budgeting – you can access free, face-to-face advice here.