What's up 2021? Rural Youth Europe

What’s up 2021?


After the election of a new board in November 2020, Rural Youth Europe kicks off 2021 with plenty of good news. But first, here’s a quick reminder of the list of our newly elected board members:

 Chairperson Linzi Stewart

Vice-Chairperson Niall Evans

Board Member group I Elen Williams

Board Member group II Martin Siemen

Board Member group III Iiristiina Heinonen

Board Member group IV Birgit Kuslap

Special Interest Board Member Siobhan Gallagher

More information (link to the new board blog post) >>


2021 is also the year of new projects for Rural Youth Europe. From the start of the year, the organization is simultaneously involved in the Together Thursdays, CoFoE and COCOREADO projects.


COCOREADO (’COnnecting COnsumers and producers to REbalance farmers’ positions through AmbassaDOr trainings’)

  • Duration of the project: 3,5 years

Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, the project aims to rebalance the position of farmers in supply chains and procurement procedures to become a key player and price setter. The program will recognise good practices that can be translated to hands-on solutions with a focus on youth and sustainability.

A range of initiatives to address barriers for farmers and consumer needs will be selected alongside initiatives on sustainable public procurement that focus on local and seasonal food. The best of these will be chosen to form the basis of a practical hands-on approach that provides real solutions to the position of the farmer in the supply chain, addressing consumer needs and focusing on youth.

A key way in which the COCOREADO program will facilitate change is through the ambassador training program. This will select a group of 40 ambassadors composed of primarily young people from across Europe who will co-create the solutions and take ownership of the project to spread the practices and innovations. This is the key way in which Rural Youth Europe will contribute to the project. By putting out the call for ambassadors and selecting a group of young people with the drive to produce real change together, we can ensure that the solutions selected by the project keep rural youth and young farmers at the heart of the decision-making process and that the solutions selected meet the needs of the future farmers of Europe. The ambassadors will help select the best practices and tailor them to the needs of their region. They will be supported throughout the lifetime of the project by meetings and trainings and helped to deliver the selected outcomes through their own networks and the networks of the project and its partners. Of particular interest is the access the ambassadors will receive in the form of connection to all the members of the consortium and their combined expertise and also in the form of visibility to the EU Commission.

This gives a great opportunity for Rural Youth Europe to work closely with CEJA and MIJARC, to strengthen ties with our sister organisations and ensure that rural youth are kept at the heart of the project.


Together Thursdays

  • Duration of the project: 01.01.2021- 30.06.2022

Together Thursdays is a project funded by the European Parliaments Communications programme and aims at raising awareness of the European institutions’ impact on the lives of rural youth, while promoting the active citizenship by giving a voice to the issues faced by rural youth in Europe.

The objectives of the action are

  • To map the worries and issues rural youth are facing in Europe today, especially in connection with post Covid-19 and EU policies and rural youths’ access to participation in civil society.
  • To promote active citizenship through both online and offline activities
  • To raise awareness of the work that the European Parliament is doing in relation to the issues rural youth are facing
  • To learn about rural youth as a target group for communication and develop quality communication channels for rural youth to raise their voice
  • Develop the policy approaches of Rural Youth Europe based on the current affairs in rural areas

The Together Thursdays action consists of 7 separate activities such as a Rural Realities form, workshops, webinars, Rural Voices podcast… Each of these activities supports the overall aim and objectives of the action.


European Youth Forum’s CoFoE

  • Duration of the project: 01.02.2021-30.06.2022

Concurrently with the Together Thursdays project, the European Union is also funding the European Youth Forum’s CoFoE project in a separate category. This funding pillar aims to support the European Parliaments Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) and engaging civil society and especially young people in envisioning the future of Europe. The Youth Forum has therefore engage with different under represented youth through their organisations, among them they asked RYEurope to partner up, and we accepted.

The central idea of this initiative is to gather ideas for the future of Europe.

The project is co-delivered by a consortium of organisations from a local to international level.

The central consortium will be made of four categories of organisations:

  • The Coordinating Partner– The Youth Forum will coordinate the project on an international level.
  • National Youth Council Partners– National Youth Councils will coordinate the project on a national level in their Members States. This will include idea generation and training on an international level as well as forming partnerships and providing support to organisations on a local level to allow them to organise their own events. National Youth Councils will also engage their Member State Government, EPLOs and other NGOs working on a national level who represent specific groups of young people.
  • International NGO Partners– International NGOs will form part of the consortium to engage young people from specific or underrepresented groups or those with strong local networks. NGOs will create partnerships with organisations working on local or national level and support them to organise their own events.
  • Research Partner– To ensure the idea collection process we follow meets the threshold of research standards a Research Partner will control the idea generation process and collate the results.


Projects are funded by the European Union



In 2021, we also see our team growing and we happily welcomed a new Project Manager John Gillon, and a new Communications Manager, Caroline Clément de Colombières.

John Gillon, Project Manager

Who are you? Where are you from?

I grew up in a small fishing and farming community called Orkney off the north coast of Scotland. Orkney is a group of about 70 or so islands of various sizes and degrees of population. The largest island, holding about 80 percent of the population, is called simply the Mainland. I lived on the Mainland in a rural parish called Evie, for most of my time in Orkney moving away for University when I was 18. Before that though I lived on a very small island, about 3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, called Egilsay. The island had around 50 people on it at the time and the school where I started my education had only 7 people. There was no shop or any other public services of any kind with all goods brought in by the ferry which took about 1 and a half hours.

What’s your background on rural matters?

I was never a farmer but I was surrounded by a farming community all my life on Egilsay or on the Mainland. The main events of the year whether the County show or a Mart dance were all farming related or organised, and growing up on such a tiny island I am well aware of the issues facing isolated rural communities and how essential life line services such as a ferry can be.

My background is in Physics after which I did a range of volunteering and travelled to Australia. In my time in Australia I volunteered on a permaculture farm and discovered my love of small-scale farming and sustainability. I learned a lot about permaculture and farming. I worked both on the farm and at the farmers’ market where we directly sold our goods. It was an inspiring process and one of the best times of my life. After travelling Australia for two years I moved home to Orkney, and inspired by my new passion for sustainability I did my Master’s degree in renewable energy. I believe sustainability in power production and food production to be two of the greatest issues facing human society and that there are range of solutions and innovations ready to be deployed in both.


What is your role at RYEurope?

I have recently been hired by Rural Youth Europe to be Project Manager for the COCOREADO project, ’COnnecting COnsumers and producers to REbalance farmers’ positions through AmbassaDOr trainings’ and procurement procedures to become a key player and price setter. The program will recognise good practices that can be translated to hands-on solutions with a focus on youth and sustainability.

If you have any questions regarding the COCOREADO project do not hesitate to contact me at projects@ruralyoutheurope.com




Caroline Clément de Colombières, Communications Manager


Who are you? Where are you from?

I am a French girl who has grown up in the beautiful region of Normandy, in a little village nearby Cherbourg. Although I have grown up most of my life in France, I have spent the last 5 years studying and working abroad. After a few years living in different parts of Finland, I have finally decided to open and settle down my suitcases in the beautiful city of Helsinki.

What’s your background on rural matters?

As far as I remember, my life has always been connected one way or another with rural life. I have been raised in a family of horse riders and farmers in a region deep in rural and agricultural France. Most of my free time has been spent helping at the stables, running in the fields and taking care of animals. The combination of my personal life experiences and my academic environmental law background gives me a profound understanding of the reality of rural life.

What is your role at RYEurope?

I have started to work at RYEurope in January 2021 as a Communications manager.

I am employed for 1,5-year and my responsibilities cover general communications tasks for Rural Youth Europe as well as the facilitation and implementation of our new Together Thursdays and CoFoE projects.


If you have any questions about the Together Thursdays or COFOE projects do not hesitate to contact me at communications@ruralyoutheurope.com.