Our board

The ACRE board is made up of voluntary directors whose role is to set out the charity’s strategic direction.

The board approves ACRE’s Corporate Plan and ensures the organisation is delivering its charitable aims and objectives. Other core tasks include annual performance assessments, as well as corporate responsibilities and accountability.

All directors are elected by the members of the ACRE Network

David Emerson CBE

David Emerson CBE

Chair

David was elected Chair of ACRE in November 2014. He is the Chief Executive of the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF), the professional membership association for the UK’s charitable trusts and grant making foundations. David’s initial professional background in geography, and then landscape management at Wye College, preceded his first employment with Cheshire RCC before he became Deputy Head of the then Rural Department at NCVO. Subsequently he worked in a variety of roles in professional theatre in the West End and abroad, as well as in TV, and then moved to run the membership association for regional theatre in the UK. Alongside his professional roles, David has co-authored four published books, including the first on ‘Only Children’; been the secretary of a trust promoting contemporary opera; and he currently also manages a small wildflower meadow in Herefordshire. David was awarded the CBE in the 2015 New Year's Honours list.

Jeremy Leggett

Jeremy Leggett

Vice-chair

Jeremy Leggett is Chief Executive of ACRE Network member Action in rural Sussex and was co-opted onto the ACRE board in January 2014. He was a commissioner on the Government’s Affordable Rural Housing Commission and is a Secretary of State-appointed member of the South Downs National Park Authority. Jeremy was born and brought up in West Sussex and, after working for a number of national charities, returned to Sussex to work for the Rural Community Council (now known as Action in rural Sussex) in 1990. He completed his MBA with Kingston Business School with a research study into the Human Resource implications of teleworking.

John Rose

John Rose

John Rose joined the ACRE Board in November 2011 and has been a trustee of Community Lincs since 2001. He is a vice president of Lincolnshire Association of Local Councils, chairman of the governing board of The Phoenix Academy, Grantham, and vice chairman of the governing board of Fortuna School, Lincoln. In August 2013 he was co-opted on to transitory board of Healthwatch Lincolnshire and in May 2014 he was elected onto the new board of directors. He is also chairman of the Healthwatch Public Engagement Committee and churchwarden of St Martin, Stubton.

Mark Shucksmith OBE

Mark Shucksmith OBE

Professor Mark Shucksmith OBE is Director of the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal and Professor of Planning at Newcastle University. He was co-opted onto the ACRE board in April 2014. Mark was previously Professor of Land Economy and Director of the Arkleton Centre for Rural Development Research at the University of Aberdeen. He is an expert on social exclusion in rural areas, rural housing, rural development, agricultural change and rural policy, and is the author of several books on rural housing and on rural disadvantage. Mark has coordinated numerous EU research projects and was awarded the OBE in 2009 for services to rural development and to crofting.

Doff Pollard

Doff Pollard

Doff Pollard was elected onto the ACRE board in November 2015. Doff's knowledge and experience of the ACRE Network stems from her previous roles as an arts development officer in Devon, a senior rural officer and part time village halls advisor in Cleveland, and latterly as chief executive of Tees Valley RCC, where she recently retired from after eight years service. During her time at TVRCC Doff was also on the Broadband Reference Group, convenor and contact for Defra and the Tees Valley Network (RFN).

Dominic Driver

Dominic Driver

Dom was appointed to the ACRE board in March 2016. He is married with three kids and lives in a small town in rural Gloucestershire. After some time teaching he became a forester via a masters in environmental management. In forestry he has worked for charities and the Forestry Commission in Wales, Scotland and now England where he is Head of Policy and Strategy, in 2016/17 on secondment to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in their transformation team. Dom is a school governor, a founder member of a local arts society, set up a local community woodland group, and would like to be a mountaineer but is really just a hillwalker with pretensions. He sees himself as a part of the forest regenerating itself but often wonders what a forest is doing sitting behind a desk all day.

Janet Thornton

Janet Thornton

Janet was elected to the ACRE board in November 2016 and she is an experienced ACRE Network trustee, having previously served six years on the ACRE board and eleven on the Board of Rural Action Yorkshire, of which she is currently Chair. Janet is Vice Chair of the Yorkshire Food Farming and Rural Network and represents them on the Leeds City Region and the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) committees. Janet was a trustee and latterly Chair of Involve Yorkshire & Humber. Previous roles have included five years’ involvement with Guinness Northern Counties Housing Association. She has lived in the same village for the past 30 years and throughout that time has been actively involved in local community organisations and initiatives at grass roots level, including serving 13 years as a parish councillor.

Ivan Annibal

Ivan Annibal

Ivan was co-opted to the ACRE board in February 2017. He is Managing Director of Rose Regeneration, the company he developed 10 years ago following 20 years in public service in the East Midlands. During an extensive career working at a UK wide level, with a particular interest in rural and coastal settlements, he has created a number of ongoing legacies including the groundwork to develop both Urban Challenge, the CVS in Greater Lincoln, and the nationally focused Coastal Communities Alliance. Ivan writes 'Hinterland', a weekly review of key news items for the Rural Services Network, and organises their annual seminar programme. He is chair of trustees at Rural Community Action Nottinghamshire, a Senior Visiting Fellow at Lincoln International Business School and is on the Editorial Board of the Journal 'Local Economy'. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Louise Beaton

Louise Beaton

Louise was co-opted to the ACRE board in February 2017. She is an independent Community Buildings Consultant who has worked with the ACRE Network for 37 years. Previously she was Community Buildings Adviser for AirS and consultant for the ACRE Network, writing publications, contributing to consultations and draft legislation, carrying out research and evaluations of Big Lottery Funded projects. Louise was ACRE's Village Halls Adviser prior to Deborah Clarke, when as Secretary to the National Village Halls Forum she led the successful campaign for 0% VAT on new halls, ran Network training for village hall advisers, contributed to charity legislation, helped establish the Norfolk Association of Village Halls and Norfolk RCC (now Community Action Norfolk), and served as a trustee of CDA Hertfordshire and Acting Director of Dorset Community Action. Louise's current voluntary roles include Aldingbourne Neighbourhood Plan team, Aldingbourne Village Hall Trust fund and LEADER LAG for Sussex Downs and Coast.