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Rural transport in peripheral rural areas : The role of social enterprises in meeting the needs of rural citizens

Mary O'Shaughnessy (Department of Food Business and Development, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland)
Enda Casey (Department of Food Business and Development, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland)
Patrick Enright (Department of Food Business and Development, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland)

Social Enterprise Journal

ISSN: 1750-8614

Article publication date: 16 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of a rural‐based, social enterprise organising rural transportation to improve access to remote areas. It highlights the very important impacts of such a service for local residents and describes some of the challenges threatening the long‐term sustainability of this local initiative.

Design/methodology/approach

The study includes both quantitative surveys of the service users and in‐depth qualitative interviews with selected passengers and key stakeholders.

Findings

Typical services users are shown to be long‐term residents, female, elderly and living alone in isolated rural areas. The benefits of the service to these users include increased independence, reduced isolation and access to health and related care services.

Practical implications

The paper concludes that such services are very vulnerable to fluctuating priorities at the political level and recommends that further research and social return on investment may help to address this.

Originality/value

The paper provides an insight into the important social contribution of social enterprises in peripheral rural locations and highlights the vulnerability of these initiatives in difficult economic times.

Keywords

Citation

O'Shaughnessy, M., Casey, E. and Enright, P. (2011), "Rural transport in peripheral rural areas : The role of social enterprises in meeting the needs of rural citizens", Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 183-190. https://doi.org/10.1108/17508611111156637

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited