Making a Difference report demonstrates the value of Defra’s £2.23m investment
by Deborah Clarke, Village Halls/ Rural Evidence Manager

Defra’s £2.23m investment in the ACRE Network in 2014/15 shows how the funding has benefited rural communities across England.

The Making a Difference report reveals the investment enabled a further £9.03m to be levered in from a range of local and national sources.

This funding has helped to ensure that the rural voice is heard in local and national decision-making. Through our Network, we have been able to provide intelligence on the impact of Government policy in rural areas, representing 11,000 grassroots communities.

The funding enabled the ACRE Network of 38 rural community councils to provide support for local strategic influencing and to support communities to take action for themselves across a number of key government priorities including:

  • Rural Services

  • Broadband, digital skills and digital inclusion

  • Community energy

  • Rural transport

  • Community energy

  • Affordable housing and neighbourhood planning

The Making a Difference report highlights support for village halls through the ACRE managed Rural Community Buildings Loan Fund.

ACRE’s Interim Chief Executive, Richard Quallington, said:

“This funding has helped to ensure that the rural voice is heard in local and national decision-making. Through our Network, we have been able to provide intelligence on the impact of Government policy in rural areas, representing 11,000 grassroots communities.

Making a Difference also showcases best practice examples of community-led solutions to local challenges and explains how our Network is sharing learning on sustainable funding models”