Free flagship events kick off £1.4m Village SOS campaign
by Claire McGine, Head of Communications

Free flagship events kick off £1.4m Village SOS campaign

A £1.4m nationwide campaign to inspire people who want to make a real difference in their rural communities will be launched with two flagship events in February.

The free events in Bristol and Darlington kick off the latest phase of Village SOS, a Big Lottery funded campaign that enables people to come together and make the most of where they live.

The drop-in days are open to anyone from a rural community who needs inspiration, skills or support to get a great idea or budding project off the ground.

Whether it’s as simple as a car share scheme, or as ambitious as opening a community café, the Village SOS campaign can help. The dates and venues for the launch events are:

  • Armada Conferencing Centre, Bristol, Saturday, February 21, 10am-4pm
  • The WM Morrison Enterprise Trust, Darlington, Saturday, February 28, 10am-4pm

The informal events are organised by ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England), the lead partner in the UK-wide campaign, and research partner Rocket Science. It will feature workshops, networking, and exhibitions and advice from funders and community support agencies.

Village SOS Community Manager Chris Cowcher said: “These events are for anyone across the UK who wants to find out more about Village SOS and how it can help their community.

“We’ll be running repeated workshops throughout the days around how to get a project started, where to look for funding and how to recruit volunteers. There’ll also be a chance to hear from successful community enterprises in their own words.

“Village SOS is all about helping to keep communities alive and thriving. So whether your idea is big or small, why not drop in and join us for a cup of tea or coffee and some good advice on how to breathe new life into your village?”

Village SOS is also looking for potential volunteer mentors to sign up to support the campaign.

Chris said: “Learning from communities who’ve already done it themselves is at the heart of our campaign. We want to hear from people who are willing to share the secrets of their successful projects with others who are just starting out. We’ll provide training and cover expenses. Just drop in on the day to find out more.”

To sign up for either of the free Village SOS events, please visit our Bristol or Darlington event pages or telephone Chris Cowcher on 01285 653477.

Media contact: Chris Cowcher, VSOS Community Manager, 01285 653477. Twitter: @VillageSOS Facebook:

Notes to editors:

Village SOS

Village SOS was launched by the Big Lottery Fund in 2009 to seize the challenges and opportunities faced by people living in rural communities. It saw more than 160 innovative village projects come to fruition, from community shops to a community forest company. The Big Lottery Fund is keeping the spirit of this success alive with a new two-year Village SOS campaign, led by ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England), the national voice of England’s 38 rural community councils. It will help to keep communities alive and thriving by becoming more enterprising with the support of people who have already done it themselves. For more information, please contact Chris Cowcher on 01285 653477 ext 215.

Action with Communities in Rural England

ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) is the national body for the 38 rural community councils (RCCs) who make up the ACRE Network. We speak up for rural communities on the national stage and deliver projects that enable our communities to find innovative solutions to the challenges they face.

The Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery. The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in 2004 it has awarded close to £6bn. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £32 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.