The Village SOS campaign, a £1.4m Big Lottery Fund funded initiative which supported a wide range of projects right across the UK has now ended. The campaign, which was managed by ACRE, offered local projects and initiatives providing a service in their community the opportunity to access bespoke one-to-one support from a partnership of 43 different organisations. The 38 members of the ACRE Network were the lead contacts in England, with 339 of the 450 projects supported by Village SOS accessing the advice and expertise of Network members.
“Village SOS has offered a wonderful opportunity to rural communities to develop their ideas into fully fledged plans and new enterprises. With over 450 successful projects benefiting from support, the majority from ACRE Network members, ACRE is delighted to have been associated with such a successful campaign. We are keen to build on this and engage partners and funders in initiatives that enable rural communities to be even more enterprising and ambitious in developing local services and in sustaining community assets.” - Richard Quallington, Action with Communities in Rural England CEO
To mark the end of the campaign a short infographic has been produced which highlights the key points from ‘Our Village SOS story’. This includes an overview of the support provided, findings from the independent evaluation, case studies and encouragement for projects to remain in contact with their local Village SOS support provider to find out what else is available to help their project now.
ACRE recognises the need for continued support for enterprising activity at a local level in rural areas, especially where action is being taken to safeguard, retain or reintroduce a service in a community. A new dedicated page on the ACRE website will focus on promoting the work being done by the ACRE Network to support local action; including raising awareness of the opportunities for locally led projects to access any further support available. ACRE will also continue to champion inspiring examples of grassroots activity and look for alternative ways in which support can be made available to further local action in the most sustainable way.
To access more information about Village SOS please get in touch with Chris Cowcher.