Rural areas seem to suffer first when financial axe falls

Date: Tuesday 4th April 2017

Sir, Following the events of the past year, I find myself compelled to write to you and share my thoughts. After losing our eldest daughter, Natasha, last year at just 20 years old, my husband and three other children have been plunged into a pit of despair overwhelmed by grief, endless questions and feelings of utter helplessness.

This last week marked the first anniversary of losing Tasha and I can honestly say that these feelings are no better. Close family and friends have helped immensely in getting us through each and every day, but we totally underestimated the wonderful people in the community in which we live.

Everyone has been such a massive support to us all. The outpouring of love, hugs, offers of help, teas and coffees have made each day more bearable knowing that people around us care. Of course, our daughter is gone for ever but the community in which we live has risen up and guided us through the dark days. I don’t doubt there are more dark times to come, yet I know can count on these special people around us and they will be there when we need them.

To the point of my letter: I am very concerned that with constant monetary cuts, reduction of rural services, removal of our buses and inconsistent housing policies gradually chipping away at the heart of these communities we will eventually leave them unsustainable. We, in rural communities, pull together in hard times and look out for each other in many ways, but for how long?

National and local government have a responsibility to protect all ways of living and the rights of all people, yet it always seems to be rural areas that suffer first when cuts have to be made.

I therefore have two messages. Firstly, to the people in Warcop and Sandford and those who have been there for us no matter what — a heartfelt thank you. Secondly, to politicians and council members, please think long and hard before you put another axe into these precious communities. They are more special than you realise. Yours etc,