On a number of occasions I’ve worked with rural communities. These communities were all looking for the same thing, trying to survive in the shorter and longer terms.
They live in gorgeous surroundings, fresh air, nature etc. etc. The communities consist of the real long term locals, the transient and of course the incomers. It’s not difficult to come across very wealthy people with a fabulous house and a bit of land who work in London Tuesday to Thursday and spend the rest of the time in their chosen village.
Everyone contributes to the local economy in various ways, which mostly results in local spending although online shopping can impinge on that. Going for a Sunday newspaper could easily be a 30 minute job and going for a fish supper, in the more remote areas could take two hours and the fish supper would be cold by the time you got back although, no doubt, you could fall back on their statutory can of Irnbru, Red cola or Vimto.
Most of these communities have some form of tourism happening too but they still carry on with the basics of earning a living. On my travels I used to ask people how many jobs they had. The winning chap had nine jobs. He had nine jobs because at any one time during the year some of them would be profitable.
His job list went something like this –
* He farmed some land and had sheep.
* He bred and trained sheep dogs.
* He rescued sheep dogs, which had become a bit unruly and trained them properly before he sold them.
* He had a shooting range.
* He charged a local adventure business for using some of his land for mountain biking and quad biking.
* He was in a folk/country-dance band (hooch!).
* He sold CDs of the bands music.
* He had converted an old barn into a function room (once used by Rob Roy apparently).
* He used his dogs to perform herd geese at one of the visitor attractions.
There were lots of B&B’s as you would imagine which provided jobs mainly to the younger generation, which the villages and their outlying areas desperately wanted to hang onto. Too many young people left for college or Uni and never came back.
Most of the communities had a group of people who tried to encourage people to work together to support the area. There were many skills available to them as you would imagine but not everyone wanted to play ball.
In certain respects large cities such as Edinburgh and London are similar. The Shore in Leith, Out of the Blue, Stockbridge, the Grassmarket, George Street are all like villages within a bigger town. Okay there isn’t a lot of grass and it can get busy at times but there will be, for sure a lot of people with more than one job.
How many jobs are enough?