Mental health pandemic is looming say rural business owners
Rural businesses aren’t just farms. Rural areas are full of innovative small businesses doing everything from accountants in sheds at the bottom of gardens, to artists making jewellery and pottery, and IT consultants and freelancers working in many different sectors.
They’re creating jobs and helping power the UK economy. But they’re struggling.
Isolation is part of the problem – made worse by social distancing and lack of clarity over constantly changing rules. At the heart of it though are the longstanding, unaddressed, underlying problems of lack of access to skills, grants, support and information, and banking services. And the mounting anxiety is fuelling a mental health pandemic.
Liz Barclay, CEO of BackinBusiness.org.uk, says:
“As for so many businesses around the UK, the pandemic has simply exposed and exacerbated the constant battle businesses owners have because of issues ignored by government. Banks close branches despite howls of protest from the small businesses dependent on them.
“Improvements to internet connectivity with high speed broadband are promised time and again but not delivered. Skills are sucked out of rural areas into nearby towns and cities because of lack of affordable housing and poor transport connections and accessible support, advice and information is like hens’ teeth. It’s all adding to the anxiety and depression.”
Join Sue Howorth of the Family Business Network in Cumbria, Amy Solon a hypnotherapist in Fife and Sue Harbottle-Sear who runs Konzepts in East Sussex as they discuss the issues and their fears for small rural businesses with the BackinBusiness team.