During the spring, a three-part webinar series was arranged: The New Rural Habitat; The New Rural Collaborative Environment; and The New Rural Business Environment, with many interesting lecturers sharing information about best practices and projects. For example, issues/projects were highlighted regarding multi-locality, habitability, ease for doing business, change requirements (SITRA), remote work hubs, the village as a creative place, migration slots, sustainability and social responsibility, partnership agreements (third sector municipalities), modern associations, and collaboration at local levels.
In addition, in June the theme group organised a Swedish-language information session on the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (recovery funding), smart villages and broadband funding.
In the autumn, programmes for the Rural Parliament in Kurikka in October were planned and prepared. Together with the Swedish Rural Network and JSM, the theme group organised a bilingual workshop on the theme “Smart Rural Areas”, and launched the concept “Youth in Rural Areas” (through Timeout dialogue breaks) together with the Bildningsalliansen (an umbrella organisation for non-formal adult education in Swedish in Finland). They also arranged, together with Nordregio and the SHERPA project, a Swedish-language workshop on the rural vision for 2040, and important themes from a Finnish point of view.
In November, major effort was put into a Nordic webinar to see what we can learn from each other in terms of rural development. Finish Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality, Thomas Blomqvist, opened the webinar and lecturers came from all over the Nordic region and from Nordregio. They contributed and shared their expertise, insights, research and best practices. It was gratifying that the webinar also attracted many participants from the Baltics.
At the end of the year, “Youth in Rural Areas” Timeout dialogues were initiated with youth, in cooperation with the Bildningsalliansen. First up was the high school in Pedersöre. A virtual Timeout dialogue was also held in December where the theme was “The Future of Åland”.
We’d like to extend our thanks to the theme group's members, the Rural Network and other partners for for their efforts over the past year.
New year - New opportunities!