New chief executive for ACRE
by Claire McGine, Head of Communications

New chief executive for ACRE

Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) has appointed Janice Banks as its new chief executive to take the charity forward following its restructure earlier this year.

Janice joins the organisation, which is the national umbrella body for the country’s network of 38 rural community councils, tomorrow (July 16).

Her most recent role was as interim chief executive with Surrey Community Action, a member of the ACRE Network. She turned the organisation around from potential closure, identifying a sustainable future direction and leading its strategic transformation.

Janice began her career as an investment manager in the City before joining Nationwide Building Society as head of compliance. She held senior executive positions in communications, customer service, human resources, retail and secretariat, developing a particular focus on championing member service issues.

Janice left Nationwide to become group resources director of Sovereign Housing Group and later joined Swindon Dance as executive director during a difficult financial period. She restructured and refocused the organisation, securing its future through a four-year funding agreement as a strategic partner of the Arts Council England.

Janice said: “I’m delighted to be joining ACRE and promoting the importance of rural communities and the valuable contribution they make to society. As a Network we have 40,000 contacts at grass roots level, giving us a strong voice with which to help the Government shape its rural policies.”

ACRE Chair Sue Shaw said: “Janice is an inspirational leader with a strong track record of transforming organisations in both the private and not-for-profit sectors.

“She brings a wealth of experience to ACRE and we are confident she will enable the Network to rise to the tough funding challenges currently facing third sector organisations. We’re absolutely delighted to have Janice on board.”

Janice replaces Sylvia Brown, who retired in March. She will lead a team of eight full-time staff based in the Gloucestershire market town of Cirencester.

A mother-of-four, who lives in Chippenham, Wiltshire, Janice has a strong commitment to community life, having served as a parish councillor, church councillor, baptism visitor and school governor. Her interests include the countryside, the arts, gardening and wine – she has a small stake in a vineyard.

The ACRE Network, 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.