Market Towns in Yorkshire & Humber

In April 2009, Yorkshire Forward launched our Rural Capitals programme. This builds upon the successes of the Renaissance Market Towns (RMT) programme. Rural Capitals is one of our most important programmes and by focusing on improving the economies of our rural capitals, the programme will develop stronger, more diverse and resilient centres. This will be through the following programme areas:

  • continuing to deliver RMT programmes and projects. Yorkshire Forward launched the Renaissance Market Towns (RMT) programme in 2002, to support sustainable rural towns in Yorkshire & Humber. By working closely with local stakeholders, our RMT programme helps to ensure that the region’s ‘rural capitals’ remain places where people can easily live, work, visit and invest;
  • developing Enterprising Rural Capitals by providing high quality business space;
  • piloting approaches to Lower Carbon Rural Capitals;
  • providing support to develop capacity across the region for long term sustainability of the regions rural capitals.

Continuing the RMT programme

Yorkshire Forward will continue to support delivery of the RMT programme, focusing on projects that deliver direct economic outputs and will continue with its support for a delegated fund for small scale projects. Projects will have been identified in the RMT Masterplan and Strategic Development Frameworks and must be supported by the town team. Click here to read the evaluation of the RMT programme completed in 2010.

Rural Access to Opportunities programme

The Rural Access to Opportunities programme (RAOP) helps connect people with places, and more importantly, with work and training. The aim of the programme is to tackle rural unemployment, support rural enterprise and enable more people to access services. RAOP is a region-wide scheme, though the exact nature of the scheme differs. Find out more.

Enterprising Rural Capitals – Rural Capitals Business Space

This programme aims to develop a network of high quality business space in some of the regions rural capitals. A report produced in 2008 for Yorkshire Forward by King Sturge into rural business space, identified a number of towns where demand and regeneration need for business space were significant. Work is underway to develop the model to deliver this, which will aim to engage private sector partners to deliver and manage the business space facilities. Download the study.

Low Carbon Rural Capitals (LCRC)

This programme aims to pilot approaches to lower carbon settlements and economies in rural capitals. A scoping study was undertaken for Yorkshire Forward in 2008 by Arup to determine whether any of the regions’ rural capitals could sustain a pilot programme to trial new approaches to lower carbon settlements. Download the executive summary. Projects that could be supported would either be entirely new and untested, or untested in a rural setting. A shortlist of nine settlements was identified and following further discussions with Local Authority partners, a further shortlist of four settlements/groups of settlements was produced. A more detailed study to investigate implementation plan options for these settlements has been completed by Ursus. Download the study.

Regional Rural Capitals Development programme

This programme will develop research, capacity, events, pilot projects and skills support for partners on issues relating to development and delivery of the Rural Capitals programme. This will include seminars, symposiums, support for accessing Yorkshire Forward’s panel of expertise and access to research on rural capitals.

Click here for more information on our sustainability seminar.

Distinctive Rural Capitals

A study was commissioned to assess how developing distinctiveness can contribute to the vitality of rural capitals and how this could be supported in the Yorkshire & Humber region. Read the report. This work is now under consideration and shared with our towns and partners to inform their future work.

Click here to find out more about the research conducted by our towns into the Distinctive Towns approach.

Click here to find out more about what the region has to offer or visit

Rural Capitals Delegated Fund

The Delegated Fund offers small amounts of match funding to our market towns for small projects which make a considerable difference to the towns. Click here to read our case study about the Delegated Fund or visit the individual town project pages to find out which projects have been carried out.

Which towns are, or have been, supported under the Rural Capitals or RMT programmes?

Over 30 towns have been supported under this scheme, spread across the region. To read about some of them, please click on the following links:

Barnsley Dearne Valley
Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside & Pickering   
Isle of Axholme  
Malton & Norton
Marsden & Slaithwaite
Pateley Bridge
Richmond & Catterick Garrison  
South Humber Bank
Upper Calder Valley

Who’s involved?

Under the RMT programme, residents, workers, businesses and visitors can all help to plan the future of a town—so their future is in their own hands. Every RMT programme has a town team, which shapes the way important change projects are delivered.

Yorkshire Forward will continue to work closely with Local Authority partners and other stakeholders to develop the Enterprising Rural Capitals and Low Carbon Rural Capitals pilot programmes.

Click here to read about Canon James Allison, an inspirational man committed to renaissance in his market town, Mytholmroyd.

Canon Allison has also been a recipient of the Fraser Teal bursary which ran for 2 years and helped those passionate about renaissance fund studies and learning activities to enable them to contribute more to renaissance. Click here to read more about the Fraser Teal bursary.

What are the timescales?

The RMT programme is now in the delivery phase, which Yorkshire Forward will continue to support during the current investment plan period 2009-14.

The Enterprising and Low Carbon Rural Capitals pilot programme will be developed over the current investment plan period 2009-14.

Skills for change

A new skills programme is being developed, to help equip town team members with the skills and experiences they need to help turn their town’s vision into reality. This programme will be run through Integreat Yorkshire.

The RMT programme has also supported individuals dedicated to renaissance through the Fraser Teal busary and you can find out more about this here.

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Rural Capitals programme case study

Rural Capitals programme case study

Click here to read our Rural Capitals case study

Renaissance Market Towns programme case study

Renaissance Market Towns programme case study

Click here to read our Renaissance Market Towns programme case study

Rural Target Fund case study

Rural Target Fund case study

Click here to read our case study on the Rural Target Fund