Thank you for all your support – Defra confirms funding to ACRE network
We have just received news that Defra has confirmed it will maintain its £2.3m investment in the ACRE Network for 2015/16.
This is good news for our organisation, the nationwide ACRE Network of rural community councils and especially the rural communities we work with. I want to thank everyone who showed their support for Northants ACRE, all the other rural councils and the work we do. We are extremely grateful for all the support we have received from our partner agencies, members and the general public, whether through signatures on the petition, tweets, emails to Defra or letters to the Minister. The response has been extraordinary.
We could not have achieved this without your help. THANK YOU.
ACRE’s Manifesto 2015
The ACRE Network is calling on the next Government to deliver a fair deal for rural communities in our 2015 manifesto.
In the run-up to the General Election on May 7, we are urging politicians to improve health, wealth and access for the 10m people who live in the countryside. The manifesto sets out our 12 key asks based on the intelligence ACRE collects from its Network members, who reach 52,000 grassroots organisations in 11,000 rural communities.
You can download the manifesto here. [added 20/1/15]
We are asking all our members, partners and supporters to join our urgent campaign to call on the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs not to withdraw funding for the ACRE Network of rural community councils (RCCs). The Network is the only nationwide organisation with a dedicated rural focus; building community resilience, strengthening local enterprise and supporting the most vulnerable in our society. In addition, we are the sole network that provides advice to the 80,000 volunteers who keep England’s 10,000 village halls alive. We have been supported by Government investment for decades. Now, however, we have been advised by civil servants to expect no further funding from Defra.
If Defra funding is withdrawn, Northamptonshire ACRE is extremely concerned it will have a negative impact on the number of services and projects we can deliver locally. NACRE currently delivers services to help people in Northamptonshire’s rural communities including; community planning, Village Halls support, community website training, Speed Watch, bulk oil buying, transport directory, broadband and various garden growing projects plus the new Rural Wellbeing Service we will be implementing from March to help socially isolated and lonely older people in rural communities.
To pull the Defra funding now would fracture the Network, undermine decades of government investment and leave the most vulnerable in rural areas with nowhere to go.
We only have one week to influence DEFRA’s decision. Please show your support for Northamptonshire ACRE by signing the ACRE Network online petition now at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/73418
Please urgently write to Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask her not to withdraw funding from the ACRE Network. If you are able to give examples of how Northamptonshire ACRE has made a difference to you, your community or organisation, this would be very helpful. [Added 9/1/15]
Making a difference in rural communities throughout England – Defra’s annual report on the ACRE network
National ACRE’s network:
- employs approximately 1,000 staff with a variety of specialist skills
- Engages in 1,300 partnerships, including working with 58 different higher-tier local authorities
- has over 12,000 fee paying members and
reaches 40,000 grass roots contacts and organisations in the 11,000 rural communities across England
And this 2012-13 annual review from ACRE gives a flavour of the benefits of Defra’s investment programme with the ACRE Network. [Added 2/9/13]
Janice Banks has been appointed as the new chief executive of ACRE, which is the national umbrella body for the country’s network of 38 rural community councils. Janice began her career as an investment manager in the City before joining Nationwide Building Society as head of compliance, where she held senior executive positions in communications, customer service, human resources, retailand secretariat. Her most recent role was as interim chief executive with Surrey Community Action, a member of the ACRE Network. More information here.
In 2012 ACRE celebrated its 25th anniversary with the publication ‘Celebrating 25 years of rural community action’, which provides a history of the organisation, how it has helped to influence national policy relating to rural affairs and how ACRE and RCAN provide valuable support to rural communities in a variety of areas. The document, along with many other useful publications, is available to download for free from the national ACRE website.