On the Edge, a 2007 report by GMCVO’s DEFRA-funded Rural Resource Unit, highlights that rural areas in Greater Manchester often feel marginalised and isolated, not only from the main urban conurbation and its policies but also from each other.
With conurbations being seen as hotbeds of social and economic problems, much funding is focused on urban areas, while rural ones, where social exclusion and deprivation are generally less concentrated and therefore less visible, often lose out.
The RRU’s task is to improve networking among those who live and work in rural areas and link them to policy and decision-makers, ultimately helping to shape a new rural agenda for Greater Manchester. On the Edge is the product of several months of networking and information-gathering and hopes to enhance awareness and understanding of the themes that are perceived as shaping rural areas locally. It gives an overview of rural issues in Greater Manchester, such as affordable housing, transport and changing demographics, and places them in the context of those that have been identified as relevant for rural areas at a regional and national level. It contains local district snapshots featuring DEFRA statistics and local rural issues.
For the most part, the research conducted for the report went hand-in-hand with the networking and focused on obtaining local perceptions, rather than concentrating on statistics. The information contained in it gives rise to a complex picture of ‘rurality’ in Greater Manchester that is characterised by rapid change and transformation.