Seminar to unveil results of rural migration study

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THE results of a study into household migration on Bute will be presented at a seminar in the Pavilion this week.

A team of experts from Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Aberdeen undertook research last year into residential change and population movement on the island, carrying out door-to-door household surveys and interviews with local residents and service providers, and are now ready to present their findings.

Professor Aileen Stockdale of Queen’s University Belfast, leader of the project, said: “We know that remote rural and island populations are ageing at a faster rate than the national population as a whole, and the Isle of Bute has recently experienced a modest trend of in-migration of middle-aged and older people.

“Our research asked who is moving to the area, where have they moved from, why have they moved, and what are their experiences of moving into the local area. One purpose of the research has been to identify the opportunities and challenges arising from such ‘young old’ in-migration.

“The findings greatly enhance our understanding of rural change and help inform rural policy decisions during an era of national demographic ageing.”

The project, which includes two study areas, the Glens of Antrim in Northern Ireland and Radnor in Powys, Wales, in addition to Bute, aims to consider how remote rural areas are affected by the in-migration of different age groups, and to identify a range of practical ways policy-makers can support the transition of remote and rural areas to an increasingly ageing society.

Dr Lorna Philip from the University of Aberdeen, co-investigator in the project, said: “We are extremely grateful to everyone who freely gave up their time to participate in this research. The Rothesay event is an opportunity for us to report the main findings from the study to the community.”

Results from the study are being presented at a research seminar at the Pavilion café on Wednesday, April 27, beginning at 7pm, and local residents, service providers, local community representatives, policy makers and anyone else with an interest in the study are invited to come along.

Copies of the research findings will be available at the seminar, and a short summary will be available to download from Friday, April 29 at www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/RuralMigration.