Rural networking website for Northumberland

A social networking website designed to support the development of rural Northumberland has been launched.

The first of its kind in England, Rural Voices is an interactive resource for anyone who lives, works or is interested in Northumberland, with the added aim of encouraging the rural development of the county.

The Rural Voices Network was originally developed by Northumberland County Council in response to calls from the county's businesses and communities following the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

Thanks to an investment of £40,000 by the Northumberland Strategic Partnership (NSP), with support from One North East, the redeveloped site uses new technology to allow users to share news and events with each other, create groups, take part in online discussions, upload photos and provide a web presence for their organisation or group.

Janice Rose, acting executive director with NSP, said: "The launch of the new Rural Voices website is an important development in our bid to encourage and promote rural activity in Northumberland.

"It's a highly interactive, free resource which keeps people up to date with local news and events and enables them to interact with others across the county - no matter how remote their location."

John Hamilton, economic development officer at Northumberland County Council, added: "Rural Voices provides Northumberland's communities with the latest in e-based approaches. It gives users access to what's happening nationally, but more importantly to what is happening locally and how they can work within their communities and groups to tackle their needs.

"We hope it will enable them to work together with other partners and agencies; it is an important part of efforts to use new technologies for the benefit of Northumberland's communities."

To become a member or to find out more, visit the Rural Voices website: www.ruralvoices.org.uk.

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