“Derbyshire is a beautiful county, full of contrasts - from the rugged beauty of the Dark Peak to the farming lowlands around the south of the county and the former coalfields to the east.” This message from our CEO Beverley Parker, in our latest Annual Review, sums up what makes rural Derbyshire such a brilliant place: a wide range of people, lifestyles and locations are all part of one connected community.  

Whether it’s farmers in Hartshorne or dry-stone wallers in Chatsworth, shopkeepers in Castleton or charity workers in Matlock, we all come together with the same grit and resilience that defines us. In the toughest times, rural people have always stayed strong - through wars, pandemics and economic crises.  

This is what we at Rural Action Derbyshire would like to focus on at the start of this new year, which brings fresh opportunities for change, growth and compassion. After a challenging end to 2022, we’re aiming to get on with things in the best way we can. It’s what we do, after all.  

We at RAD will work hard to contribute to rural society, from ramping up our efforts to get more people online to expanding our network of community pantries

So, what will 2023 look like for rural Derbyshire? Well, we will see community buildings continuing to act as a place for friendship, activities and support for those in need. There are some fantastic projects such as Gussie’s Kitchen in Chesterfield and Footsteps in Whaley Bridge, providing ‘warm spaces’ and free food and drink this winter. Many will also be offering a place for celebrating the Coronation of King Charles III in May. 

Of course, we at RAD will work hard to contribute to rural society too, from ramping up our efforts to get more people online - ensuring no-one is left behind in this increasingly digital world - to expanding our network of community pantries to make sure everyone can afford healthy, nutritious food. We will also continue to support those aiming to find work, struggling with their mental health, suffering from domestic abuse or facing costly energy bills. Simply put, we’re here for everyone in countryside communities.  

While there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment and the future may look pretty bleak, one thing that rural folk always do is stick together and support each other. It's what makes rural communities so special.