Rural expert Mark Shucksmith joins ACRE board
by Chris Cowcher,

Renowned rural expert Professor Mark Shucksmith OBE has joined the board of trustees at ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England).

Mark is Director of the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal and Professor of Planning at Newcastle University, and was previously Professor of Land Economy and Director of the Arkleton Centre for Rural Development Research at the University of Aberdeen.

He joins nine other trustees from across the country to govern ACRE, the national body for England’s 38 rural community councils.

"I was very pleased to be invited to join the board of ACRE, which has a long history of helping rural communities to help themselves."

Mark is an expert on social exclusion in rural areas, rural housing, rural development, agricultural change and rural policy. He is the author of several books on rural housing and on rural disadvantage and has coordinated numerous EU research projects.

He was a board member of the Countryside Agency (2005-6), and the Commission for Rural Communities (2006-13), was a member of the Government’s Affordable Rural Housing Commission (2005-06), Chair of the Scottish Government’s Committee of Inquiry into Crofting (2007-08), expert adviser to the Scottish Parliament’s EFRA Committee, and adviser to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on rural issues.

He represents Europe on the Council of the International Rural Sociological Association and will be Chair of the Scientific Committee for the next European Congress of Rural Sociology in 2015.He was awarded the honour of OBE in 2009 for services to rural development and to crofting. He was elected to the Academy of Social Sciences in 2010.

Mark said: “I was very pleased to be invited to join the board of ACRE, which has a long history of helping rural communities to help themselves. I have often worked with the charity and its network of rural community councils in the past and share their values and aspirations.

“I hope to use my experience to enable me to contribute to their work across a broad range of rural issues – from enabling affordable housing to setting up social enterprises to save village shops and pubs.”

ACRE Chair Sue Shaw said: “We are delighted that Mark has joined the ACRE board. “His depth of knowledge and experience fits exactly with our mission to speak up for rural communities on the national stage, ensuring that the Government takes into account the challenges faced by our communities when shaping rural policy.

“I am sure Mark’s contribution will prove invaluable and we look forward to welcoming him to our ACRE conference in November, where he will be a key speaker on the rural economy.”

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