Many of Spain’s smaller towns and villages are suffering the slow and steady ravages of depopulation – they are literally ‘dying’ according to the media & politicians and first-hand experiences of the survivors of this exodus who wake up every morning to find fewer neighbours living around them. The main cause that drives people to chance their luck in the bigger cities, where they have access to better services and job opportunities, is the lack of economic and social development that is evident in their villages.
According to data from Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE), rural populations lose around five inhabitants every hour, an alarming rate that means that today more than 85% of the Spanish population inhabit less than 20% of the national territory.
Teaming up with AlmaNatura
Aware of this situation, and of the need to join forces to attempt to reverse this trend, Red Eléctrica has teamed up with AlmaNatura ( a company that designs projects for the development of rural communities) to launch ‘Holapueblo’, an initiative that seeks to breathe life into the most sparsely populated areas of Spain through entrepreneurial initiatives.
Thus, both organisations, with the support of the provincial councils and local governments of the areas affected by this mass rural exodus, such as Burgos, Palencia, Soria, Teruel, Guadalajara, Huesca and Cuenca, will select a total of 20 entrepreneurial projects and provide them with the necessary backing, support and mentoring to help turn the idea into a reality.
“Repopulating the territory requires people with ideas,” explained Antonio Calvo, Manager of Institutional Relations and Sustainability Area at Red Eléctrica. Furthermore, Mr. Calvo stated that “this initiative strives to bring innovative projects to rural areas and put in place the measures for them to come to fruition. In Red Eléctrica, as a company that has a presence nationwide, we are truly committed to the fight against depopulation in these areas and, especially, in these regions as a whole.”
In this regard, ‘Holapueblo’ is looking for new inhabitants with the desire to settle down in those municipalities most affected by the rural exodus in Spain, supporting the regeneration of rural communities and contributing to offset the serious demographic imbalances being experienced and to help with the renewal of the social fabric.