Bayarcal offering free homes to families to prevent school closure

The tiny village of Bayárcal, up above Almeria in the Alpujarras, has seen its population dip below the level deemed necessary to keep the village school open.

There are only 360 people in the village, most of them elderly, and just 14 children.

So the townhall, desperate to attract more people to the village, has offered three council homes free to anyone with children who wants to come and live in the village.

Mayor Jacinto Navarro (PSOE) said that he was looking for quiet families who didn’t mind a rural environment, and warned that the village didn’t offer much in the way of entertainment. Anyone with expertise in plumbing, electricity or catering would probably find employment, he added, saying that there was always a demand for such services.

The allocation of the homes to the three families will be overseen by the County Council’s Department of social welfare, and the home will be leased, rent free (excluding utilities) whilst a child of the family attends the local school.

It’s not the first time this has been tried in the province – over a decade ago, Las Tres Villas, another isolated hamlet in the mountains, tried the same thing with some success.

The inland hamlets are seeing their populations fall, with some almost being abandoned, as the youth have been moving away in the last few years in search of jobs elsewhere.

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