Funders and partners

We have a strong record of collaborating with government, third sector organisations, and academics to provide rural advocacy, undertake research and deliver programmes.

At the moment, we are working extensively with the following organisations:


We have a close relationship with Cirican, a rural research and consultancy agency set up by 18 members of the ACRE Network. Because it is run by people with experience of rural community issues, it is able to offer a specialist service backed up with a wealth of connections.


We have a long-term, strategic relationship with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) who subsidise ACRE Network members to support rural community projects and provide intelligence on rural matters. As part of this relationship, we have routine meetings with departmental personnel at which we scrutinise policy proposals that could impact on rural communities (see Rural Proofing).

We are currently delivering a £2.5m programme on behalf of Defra which is backing ACRE Network Rural Housing Enablers (RHEs) to work with communities and help them secure small scale affordable housing schemes that fit in with the local area.

ACRE also administers the Rural Community Buildings Loan Fund on behalf of Defra, which provides financial support to village hall management committees to improve facilities for their communities.

End Fuel Poverty Coalition

ACRE is a member of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition which campaigns to influence government and other bodies to take action to end fuel poverty and thereby improve people’s health and quality of life as well as seeking to reduce the cost of living, create jobs and negate carbon emissions in the process. It is a broad coalition of over 20 anti-poverty, environmental and health campaigners, local authorities, trade unions and consumer organisations.

European Rural Community Alliance

ACRE is a member of the European Rural Community Alliance (ERCA). ERCA is the network for national rural movements in Europe. It currently has members in 15 countries, who work together to share experience, advocate and provide links between rural communities, national and European levels. Through ERCA, ACRE is also a partner in the European Rural Parliament ERP. This is a pan-European initiative with national partners in 40 countries which provides representation on rural policy issues with EU institutions and national governments.

National Lottery Community Fund

The National Lottery Community Fund funded ACRE to undertake some exploratory work with our members between 2021 and 2022 which looked at how digital applications could be deployed to improve the national village halls information and advice service which resulted in a number of recommendations for which we are now seeking funding to implement.

Rural Coalition

ACRE provides the national secretariat for the Rural Coalition; thirteen national organisations who subscribe to a vision for a living and working countryside in England. Find out more.

stagg architects

ACRE is working with stagg architects to produce design guidance that can be used by volunteers who manage England’s 10,000+ village halls to make their buildings more energy efficient. The publication is set to be launched 18 March and it will cover energy audits, insulation & draft proofing, heating systems and opportunities for generating energy on-site.