ACRE seeks new chief executive
by Claire McGine, Head of Communications

Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) is recruiting a chief executive to take the new-look organisation forward following its restructure earlier this year.

The charity is the umbrella body for the 38 county-based local development agencies that make up the Rural Community Action Network (RCAN). Its members are ACRE’s eyes and ears at grassroots level in rural England, helping the Network to shape and influence Government policy.

RCAN, which collectively employs almost 1,000 staff, works to find innovative solutions to the challenges faced by rural communities –from setting up transport schemes to saving their village shops.

“ACRE has a long history of supporting rural communities through its members and we are looking for an inspirational individual who will help us to find new ways of sustaining this important work."

ACRE underwent a restructure in March this year, following the retirement of chief executive Sylvia Brown. The Cirencester-based organisation, which has a team of nine full-time staff, will be moving into new premises in the heart of the Gloucestershire market town later this month.

Chair Sue Shaw said: “We feel the time is right to recruit a new chief executive to help ACRE and the Network rise to the tough funding challenges currently facing third sector organisations.

“ACRE has a long history of supporting rural communities through its members and we are looking for an inspirational individual who will help us to find new ways of sustaining this important work.

“We’re hoping to find an experienced senior manager who will advocate on behalf of communities locally and nationally, enabling the voice of rural England to be heard at the highest level in Government.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for someone who has experience of steering a membership organisation to make their mark on the rural agenda.”

ACRE is now into its third year of working closely with Defra (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs). This year, the charity is focusing on rural economic growth and reporting to policy makers on how rural communities face challenges accessing services such as health, transport, affordable housing and broadband. It will also be advising on how Government policies, such as welfare reform, affect rural dwellers.

It is also working with DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change), energy charities and suppliers on a variety of projects to combat fuel poverty and promote renewable energy. In addition. ACRE provides a support and information service for the advisers to England’s 10,000 village halls and community buildings, supported by insurance giant AON UK Ltd. The closing date for applicants is June 26, 2013.