Scotland's rural third sector: breaking out of siloed policy

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In recent times rural communities have been exposed to significant challenges, some are social, others economic and some very unpredictable events such as pandemics and war. Nonetheless individuals and communities that constitute rural society continue to be resilient and seek solutions to localised rural problems through rural enterprise and entrepreneurship. Our paper examines Scotland's rural third sector. We ask the questions- ‘Does policy appear as a coherent intersection between rural development and third sector or is support for the rural third sector a product of siloed policy?’ We use content analysis to examine key government policy, website publications and strategies written by the respective directorates for rural development and third sector, but we are particularly interested in the nexus between them. Despite Government support for Community Led Local Development initiatives there is evidence to show from recent consultations that deficiencies exist in relation to supporting entrepreneurial action, viable impact metrics and structuring support for grassroots community projects. In addition, we show support for rural third sector is straddled across directorates which critically creates deficiencies in relation to providing coherent support for the rural third sector and specifically neglects the characteristics that shape third sector activity in rural spaces. We propose that further research is required to advance our understanding of rural third sector and further studies to inform coherent policy to support the rural third sector rather than an intersection between government directorates with multiple stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - May 2023
Event20th Rural Entrepreneurship Conference: Challenges and opportunities for rural entrepreneurship in times of crisis - Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 May 202319 May 2023 (Link to conference website)


Conference20th Rural Entrepreneurship Conference
Abbreviated titleREC 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Rural Third Sector
  • Rural Development
  • Third Sector
  • Government Policy
  • Rural Entrepreneurship


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