How we’re helping rural communities join together and fight back
Across England, ACRE Network members are working with voluntary groups to help them overcome the challenges of Covid-19 and the restrictions that have been put in place by government to stop the spread of the virus.
There are many good examples of projects supported by our members – from good neighbour and village agent schemes providing a lifeline to more vulnerable residents, virtual cafés keeping people connected, to village halls taking on new uses such workshops for PPE.
We are working with the 38 county-based organisations which make up the ACRE Network to respond to the pandemic in the following ways.
Chronicling the impact of the virus in the countryside and working with government to develop policies which are sensitive to the needs of rural communities
We are in close contact with our members who are helping us to understand the impact the virus and associated lockdown is having in different parts if the countryside. Our close relationship with the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) and our membership of the Rural Coalition means we have been able to relay this insight to officials developing the government’s policy response.
READ our press releases, blogs and submissions to government:
- Coronavirus: why does rural matter? - blog by Jeremy Leggett (28 May)
- Rural Coalition calls on government for locally led Covid-19 track and trace – letter to Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (25 May)
- Lifting Covid-19 restrictions in rural areas: some cursory thoughts – blog by Phillip Vincent (13 May)
- Getting rural Britain back to work – letter to George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (6 May)
- Coronavirus: a case for rural proofing – blog by Jeremy Leggett (21 April)
- How Helpful is the Chancellors Charity Support Package to rural communities? – press release (9 April)
- Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) urges government to support rural communities during COVID-19 outbreak – letter to George Eustice Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2 April)
Providing advice and guidance to help groups
We have sought to share and clarify government advice with our members so they can support rural communities with confidence.
Our focus has been supporting the village halls and rural community buildings which have been forced to temporarily close causing uncertainty about their longer-term future.
READ our guidance:
- Guidance for reopening village halls which provide pre-school or nursery facilities (21 May)
- Eligibility for support from Government for village and similar rural community buildings (2 April)
Showcasing some of the inspiring projects that are helping rural communities become more resilient
Whilst Coronavirus presents a significant long-term threat to the health and vitality of rural communities, we are keen to shine a light on the many ways rural residents are coming together and helping each other at this time of crisis.
READ about some of the projects supported by our members:
- The importance of celebrating and sustaining volunteering beyond Covid-19 - blog by Phillip Vincent (6 June)
- England’s rural Village and Community Halls are survivors! - blog by Deborah Clarke (03 June)
- Why connecting rural communities has never been more important - & how ACRE Network members are promoting mental health at this difficult time – blog by Phillip Vincent (22 May)