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Personalisation of social care in rural communities. The implications for older people


To inform debate about the transformation of social care and to produce a set of specific messages about and for rural communities based on evidence from rural areas. 

Research team

Jill Manthorpe, SCWRU
Martin Stevens, SCWRU


Commission for Rural Communities


Many areas of England are experiencing increases in population, particularly of older people. This makes the proposed transformation of social care of more importance for rural areas, in which the provision of social care is made more difficult by increased transport costs and fewer local services and a smaller workforce, easily available. Personalisation aims to offer people using services greater choice and influence over the support and services they need. The study investigated experiences of a number of stakeholders involved in implementing personalisation in rural authorities.


The research involved 33 interviews with older people; and professionals from the private, voluntary/community and public sectors. Interviewees were from areas that had been involved in the Individual Budgets’ (IBs) pilots. In addition, a focus group of managers involved in implementing IBs in the sites was held to inform the study.


March – July 2008


Manthorpe, J. & Stevens, M., (2008), 'The Personalisation of Adult Social Care in Rural Areas' [pdf, 1.98MB], Cheltenham: Commission for Rural Communities.
Manthorpe, J. & Stevens, M., (2009, online publication), 'Increasing care options in the countryside: developing an understanding of the potential impact of personalization for social work with rural older people', British Journal of Social Work.

Manthorpe, J., (2008), 'Rural areas and personalisation', Community Care, 23 October: 34-35.

Manthorpe, J. & Stevens, M., (2008), 'Personalising social care for older people living in rural communities', CCD Village Green, (113): 3.
Manthorpe, J. & Stevens, M., (2008), 'Personalisation in Rural Areas', British Society of Gerontology, 5 September, Bristol.

Stevens, M., (2008), 'New Directions and Trends in Health and Social Care Delivery in Rural Areas', Rural Health Conference, Community Council of Devon, 22 October. 

Related work

Manthorpe, J. & Livsey, L., (2009), 'European challenges in delivering social services in rural regions: a scoping review', European Journal of Social Work, 12(1): 5-24.

O'Halloran, S. & Cornes, M., (2009), 'Supporting rural carers: understanding the role of the voluntary sector', Research, Policy and Planning, 27(1): 2-8.

Manthorpe, J., Iliffe, S., Clough, R., Cornes, M., Bright, L. & Moriarty, J., (2008), 'Elderly people's perspectives on health and well-being in rural communities in England: findings from the evaluation of the National Service Framework for Older People', Health & Social Care in the Community, 16(5): 460-468.
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