Latest news

  • ACRE has received close to £1.4m from the Big Lottery Fund to lead a nationwide partnership of eight organisations that will help and inspire rural communities across the UK to set up social enterprises.
  • This £700,000 Defra fund, managed by ACRE, encourages communities to raise funds, knowing a loan could be available to help them meet their target and win funding from other sources.
  • The Alzheimer’s Society Befriending Scheme for people living with dementia has been operating throughout Northamptonshire since 2010. They are currently looking for people with a variety of interests to spend time with people living with the early stages of dementia. Could you be a volunteer?
  • Find out how easy it is to switch energy suppliers.
  • Beanstalk is a national charity that recruits, vets, trains and supports volunteers to work in primary schools with children who fallen behind with their reading. Beanstallk Northants desperately needs more volunteers to help in the county. Find out how you can help.
  • Each year for the next 5 years, English Garden is awarding one recipient up to £5,000 to help fund or part-fund a horticultural project, initiative, event, product, idea, research or development.
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National survey of village hall life

village hall12 million hours of volunteering, £11m of renovations and 38.6 million cups of tea:

England’s 10,000 village halls rely on more than 12 million hours of volunteering each year to deliver their vital role at the heart of rural communities, a new survey* by ACRE has revealed. It showed volunteers who run classes and events put in 2.5 million hours annually. That’s on top of the estimated 9.6 million hours clocked up by management committees. But more than half of the halls who responded said they were struggling to find new recruits to help manage the buildings – with people protesting that they were too busy, too old or simply not interested. Read some of the key findings from the survey here.

*ACRE undertook a survey of village halls across England. The survey returned 1,300 responses, (13%) that were used to derive the statistics for this report.  Visit the Community Facilities page for details of services provided by Northamptonshire ACRE.

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Buy your oil early for winter

heating oilWe at Northamptonshire ACRE are  urging households to buy their winter oil early so that they are prepared when the colder weather arrives. Research shows 36% of homes in rural areas are off the gas grid, so many households rely on heating oil. In times of high demand, prices can increase rapidly, leaving the most vulnerable unable to afford to adequately heat their homes.

One of the best ways to save money is to set up or join an oil buying group, which can buy in bulk and negotiate the best price. Twenty-five members of the ACRE Network have set up oil-buying groups and Northamptonshire ACRE runs such a scheme.  Since we launched our scheme, over 1150 orders have been processed and over 900,000 litres of domestic heating oil have been delivered. With professional negotiators behind us, our members have saved a total of just over £120,500 so far against the highest prices quoted and over £45,000 against average.  Find out more about our Bulk Oil Scheme here. And why not download our top ten tips for heating oil customers.

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Liquid Petroleum Gas scheme

We are expanding the Bulk Oil scheme to offer Liquid Petroleum Gas in cylinders and for bulk tanks. Find out more here. We are expanding our Bulk Oil scheme to offer Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) in cylinders and for bulk tanks. This is in conjunction with Swift Energy Consultants Ltd and FloGas. There is no additional cost to ordering LPG as it is covered under the bulk oil membership. For more details click here.

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Big thank you to everyone who donated garden tools

Many thanks to everyone who has kindly donated spades, hoes, rakes and even mowers to the Community Payback scheme. The group are extremely grateful as these tools enable them to continue with their excellent work of ground maintenance in  communities. If you would like to know more about the Community Payback scheme or would like to nominate a project in your area, please click on the Community Payback logo to go to the Northants Probation Trust website for more information.

You can continue to donate tools to the scheme by contacting us on 01604 765888 or email acre@northantsacre.org.uk  

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