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CCBS co-hosts event on rural remote working

Posted On: 30 Jun 2022

North-South Northern Ireland

On Tuesday 28th June, the Centre for Cross Border Studies joined with the Rural Community Network (RCN) to host an event focused on rural remote working in Northern Ireland. The event was a seminar and workshop for rural community development practitioners and key stakeholders held at The Junction, Dungannon.  

After welcoming those who were taking part, Kate Clifford, Director of RCN, outlined the context for the event: evolution of working patterns, accelerated due to the pandemic have highlighted the benefits and possibilities of remote and hybrid working. Kate explained RCN’s involvement as a partner in the 5G New Thinking project and how this led RCN to consider the role remote working hubs, which are increasingly popular in the Republic of Ireland, might play in the enabling remote working for rural communities.  

Our first speaker Pauline Leonard, Regional Development Executive at the Western Development Commission, gave a fantastic outline of remote working hubs in the Republic of Ireland and some of the policy measures and initiatives that have been put in place to encourage the development of hubs. Pauline’s insight and experience provided some interesting learning opportunities for those in attendance. 

Anthony Soares, CCBS Director, then presented the findings of his report looking at rural remote working north and south to provide a comparative analysis. Anthony showed that whilst the policy drivers in the north are less developed in the south, there are many policy initiatives to provide support for remote working hubs which perhaps need to be consolidated. He outlined the report’s recommendations which offered suggestions for next steps for policy makers and practitioners. 

Our participants split into breakout groups to allow for discussions. After sharing what they found noteworthy from the morning’s presentations, conversation focused on the practices and policies which need to take place in Northern Ireland to support rural communities to take next steps. These discussions were very fruitful and we hope they will provide impetus for those involved to move forward with improving rural connectivity.