Meet the team

ACRE’s highly knowledgeable and experienced team is based in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. Find out more about them below.

Richard Quallington

Executive Director

Richard joined ACRE as an associate in May 2015, following on from his role as chief executive at ACRE Network member Community First in Herefordshire & Worcestershire. Richard is a former vice chair of ACRE and past chair of Regional Action West Midlands (RAWM). A planner by training, he has many years’ experience of working with and speaking up on behalf of rural communities about affordable housing, transport, rural services, broadband and regeneration initiatives. Richard is also a fair-weather motorcyclist.

Deborah Clarke

Rural Evidence & Village Halls Manager

Deborah joined ACRE in 1996 as part of the 21st Century Halls for England, a Millennium Commission Project. Since 2000, she has provided the dedicated Village Hall Information & Advice Service to the ACRE Network. Her responsibilities include working with village hall advisers; representing ACRE and the interests of village halls at national level; and managing the Rural Community Buildings Loan Fund.

Paul Dixon

Rural Evidence Manager

Paul joined ACRE in June 2008 as part of the Rural Infrastructure England project; an initiative financed by the Big Lottery Fund. His role within the policy team includes working with and supporting the development of the ACRE Network, contributing to ACRE’s national policy work and developing ACRE’s rural evidence base. He previously worked for a local Council for Voluntary Service as a Funding Advice Worker.

Phillip Vincent

Communications & Public Affairs Manager

Phillip returned to ACRE in 2020 to head up our communications and public affairs work. He is also responsible for supporting the ACRE Network’s digital development. Phillip has extensive knowledge and experience of community development, stakeholder engagement, and programme management having performed roles in local government and with the Plunkett Foundation promoting community business across the UK. During his previous stint with us, he provided leadership for the network’s approach to community planning between 2008 to 2013.  Phillip also serves as a retained firefighter with Gloustershire Fire and Rescue Service so is occasionally is called away from ACRE duties!

Jeremy Leggett

Policy Advisor

Jeremy joined the ACRE Network in 1987, originally working for the member organisation in Buckinghamshire. Between 1989 and 2018 he was Chief Executive of Action in rural Sussex. He has a degree in Environmental Science as well as an MBA and served on the Affordable Rural Housing Commission established by the Blair Government. As an associate he shares his time between policy work for ACRE, making short films, photography, and a little light rock climbing.

Alison Letts

RHE Programme Manager

Alison joined ACRE in December 2023 to manage the National Rural Housing Enabler Programme financed by DEFRA. Her role is to lead on the day-to-day project management, monitor performance and develop relationships, and to give advice and guidance to ACRE member Rural Housing Enablers, and other stakeholders. Alison has worked for many years in Housing, both in the residential property market for Agents, Developers & Housing Associations and on innovative housing projects for Charities in Oxford and London.

Gillian Poole

Finance Manager

I’ve been an accountant for over 25 years (far too long), having worked in large corporate organisations and now specialising in the charity sector.  My aim is to make finance less scary and more interesting for all – admittedly some parts can be very dull!  In my spare time I’m also the treasurer for Shipston Link which is a rural community bus transport scheme run by volunteers and I’m a fully trained Midas minibus driver.

Sue Kirkman

Governance and administration

Sue works as a part-time associate for ACRE, supporting our Executive Director and Chair with various governance matters. She has been working with us since 1999 when she first joined as a Clerical & Administration Clerk. Sue helps the staff team deliver events, proofreads publications, and performs a plethora of other administrative tasks as required!