Friday, 22 May 2015 09:12

Rural charity ACRE to be restructured

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rural charity ACRE to be restructured

Action with Communities in Rural England has appointed an interim chief executive as the charity is restructured.

It follows the departure of Janice Banks from ACRE, which is the national voice for England's 38 rural community councils.

Richard Quallington joins the charity from Community First in Herefordshire & Worcestershire, a member of the ACRE Network, where he was chief executive.

He will steer ACRE through a restructuring following a board review of its future.

A planner by training, Mr Quallington is a former ACRE vice chair and past chair of Regional Action West Midlands (RAWM).

He has experience of working with and lobbying on behalf of rural communities about affordable housing, transport, services, broadband and regeneration initiatives.

He said: "I am delighted to be joining ACRE, which has a long history of speaking up for rural communities on the national stage and of supporting its network in making a real difference at the grassroots.

"I am very keen to work with our members to move the network forward to find new ways in which we can help rural communities to meet the challenges they face."

ACRE chair David Emerson said restructuring the organisation would enable it to continue to provide effective support to its members.

Earlier this year, Defra considered withdrawing its funding for ACRE.

An ACRE petition eventually persuaded Defra to maintain £2.3m in funding for the network during 2015/16.

Mr Emerson said Mr Quallington's experience would allow ACRE to carry on its work in supporting communities.

It would also enable the voice of rural England to continuing to be heard at the highest level in government.

Mr Emerson said: "I would like to pay tribute to Janice Banks whose strong determination and business skills have been of immense value to ACRE over the past two years.

He added: "Under her management, ACRE has considerably increased its profile, extending our reach into Europe.

"Her commitment has secured the best deal for both the ACRE Network and the rural communities it serves. We send our warmest and best wishes for her future work."

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