Rural economy in spotlight at ACRE conference
by Claire McGine, Head of Communications

The rural economy will be under the spotlight at the ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) conference on 13 November.

Why Rural Matters - The Case for Investment, will bring together community stakeholders, rural businesses, politicians and funders at the Holiday Inn, Regents Park, London.

The focus of the event will be the increasing contribution that rural is making to the UK economy - and finding the key to unlocking future investment in our communities.

ACRE, the national voice of England’s network of 38 rural community councils, says the event promises to be the ideal opportunity to share intelligence, inspiration and insight on rural issues in the run-up to the 2015 election.

The keynote speech will be given by Professor Mark Shucksmith OBE, Director of the Newcastle Institute of Social Renewal, who joined the board of ACRE earlier this year.

Dawn Austwick OBE, chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund and Ron Crank, chief executive of the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, will speak on the future of funding for rural communities.

The political view will be put forward by Lord De Mauley TD, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Defra; Huw Irranca-Davies MP, Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and Julie Girling MEP, Conservative MEP for South West England & Gibraltar.

The conference will also hear from businesses who have successfully met the challenges of setting up in a rural area, including Oli Christie of Neon Play, Debra Drew of Fabric Architecture and Simon Baxter of Dijon Designs.

Speakers from the ACRE Network will be Rob Crowder, chief executive of Rural Community Action Nottinghamshire, and Jon Boswell, chief executive of Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity, who will discuss the role of communities in driving social enterprise and innovation in rural areas.

ACRE chief executive Janice Banks said: “We are delighted to have such a great line-up of speakers who will get to the heart of the opportunities and challenges for rural communities, enterprises and businesses.

“The event is an ideal opportunity to discuss what lies ahead for rural and the need for investment from Government, funders and entrepreneurs to keep our communities thriving.”

For more details and to book your place, visit our conference page.

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