​Rural Housing Week is a week-long campaign that takes place every year to showcase the fantastic work that housing associations do in rural communities.

This year's Rural Housing Week theme is committed to rural communities – highlighting housing associations' dedication to providing affordable homes that people love.

Affordable housing is at the heart of thriving rural communities. Now, more than ever, rural housing associations need to be committed to their communities and work together to help them thrive.

Why is this week so important?

The strongest and most sustainable communities are those that have a diverse mix of people.

However, rural incomes are below average, and the ratio of house prices to local wages is higher in rural areas. Unfortunately, local families and young adults increasingly cannot afford to buy or rent in their villages and are moving away. This is not a new problem; only 8% of rural homes are classed as affordable. But, with a recent increase in demand for rural homes, reduced funding and limitations on new home development, it will continue to intensify.

The loss of younger people and families who are priced out of the area, combined with an ageing population in rural areas, has a huge impact on those communities. It affects the viability of shops, schools, pubs, businesses, farms and all the local services that make a community what it is.

Providing sensitively designed, small developments of homes that are within the local people's financial reach will allow the communities to remain diverse, enabling people to work close to home, provide and use local services and keep villages alive.

Rural Housing Week 2021 is the perfect time to celebrate Progress Housing Group's dedication to providing affordable homes that people love and that keep vital rural services alive.

Join the conversation on Twitter using #RuralHousingWeek