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Views wanted on future of Exmoor’s rural economy

BUSINESSES, communities and stakeholders across Exmoor are being invited to shape a future vision for rural enterprise within the National Park as part of the Rural Enterprise Exmoor (REE) Network.

Exmoor plays host to over 1,200 businesses, many of whom contributed to a major survey last year aiming to identify the unique challenges and opportunities they face. The development of a shared vision is the next step in the journey.

Dan James, Sustainable Economy Manager at Exmoor National Park Authority, who set up REE to create a network of partners interested in sustainable economic development, said: “There have been some seismic changes over the past decade resulting from the credit crunch, Brexit, the climate emergency, and now Covid.

“Exmoor’s communities and businesses, like its landscapes, are resilient and strong and together we want to be ready for the next 15 years or so, ensuring those aspirations are in harmony with the special nature and status of the National Park.”

Kerrie Wilson has recently been appointed as ‘Business Engagement Facilitator’ for the network, working to ensure the voices of local businesses are heard, while helping to unite them through networking and training opportunities.

She said: “There can be few better places in which to live and work but I’m well aware how isolating it can be. There is strength in numbers and I’m delighted to have this opportunity to bring businesses together with project partners.”

Simon Hooton of Ash Futures, who are co-ordinating a consortium of expert practitioners to support the vision development work, said: “We’re looking forward to working with partners to identify a path to Exmoor’s future. There is no doubt that Exmoor faces some big challenges but also some bigger opportunities. We hope to show that Exmoor can grow towards future possibilities, rather than be rooted in past problems.”

Alongside development of the vision, the project will use case studies and social media campaigns to celebrate the role of enterprise on Exmoor, while encouraging greater use of the Exmoor brand to raise the profile of doing business within the National Park.

For further details and to sign up to get involved visit  www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/living-and-working/business-and-economy/rural-enterprise-exmoor or follow @RuralEntExmoor on  Facebook,  Twitter and  Instagram.

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