LOCAL people are being invited to take part in an important study to improve understanding of the cost of living in rural Scotland.
Called Minimum Income Standard for Remote and Rural Scotland (MIS), the research has been commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in partnership with local authorities, housing groups and Scottish Enterprise.
Its findings will be used by local authorities and other organisations to inform policies which aim to improve living standards in rural communities throughout Scotland.
As well as consulting experts on such issues as heating costs and nutrition, the researchers plan to hold detailed discussions with groups of members of the public.
The project has already begun looking for people to participate in the research in communities in the Western Isles, including Stornoway and Lochboisdale.
Participants from a variety of backgrounds and age groups are needed to make the findings as robust as possible.
The Centre for Remote and Rural Studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) is conducting the research in partnership with a team based at the University of Loughborough and University Campus Suffolk.
Volunteers are being sought to take part in small focus groups, involving informal discussion led by a professional researcher.
Participants do not need to be an expert in anything and will not be asked to discuss personal details.
Involvement in this project is voluntary and discussions during the focus groups are strictly confidential. The researchers operate under strict ethical and legal codes, including those of the Data Protection Act and the Social Research Association.
Focus groups are due to take place in Stornoway on November 26th and 27th, and in Lochboisdale on November 28th.
If you would like to take part in this study or would like more information, please contact Jo Ellen CRRS Research Assistance on 01997 433403 or Amanda Bryan CRRS Research Associate on 01463 782597.
Addition information on the research is available at www.minimumincomestandard.org