Thursday, 12 March 2015 09:48

Village SOS campaign ready to go

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Village SOS campaign ready to go

RURAL residents who want to improve their local community are being urged to sign up to the Village SOS campaign.

The £1.4m Big Lottery funded campaign aims to encourage flourishing rural community enterprises – from car-sharing schemes to community cafes.

Led by rural charity Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), Village SOS will offer volunteers a package of advice and support to get projects off the ground.

It will inspire communities by matching them with someone in the UK who has already 'been there and done that', and will offer expert mentoring through a local support organisation.

Village SOS community manager Chris Cowcher said: "We really want to hear from people who want to breathe new life into their local community.

"Perhaps you've got a great idea for a project but don't know where to start – or maybe you've already started an enterprise but need help with business planning, marketing or raising funds.

"Whatever you want to do – whether it's starting a playgroup or saving the village shop – Village SOS can help. To sign up, all you need to do is visit our website at www.villagesos.org.uk.

"We'll put you in touch with a local support organisation that knows your patch and can help you create an action plan at your pace."

Successful applicants could also be matched with a Village SOS mentor from a community in the UK who has already had success with a similar project.

"This is a nationwide campaign and we will be collecting and sharing the best examples of community action from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Communities learning from communities is at the heart of what we want to achieve."

More than 120 people have already signed up as mentors for potential projects following community workshops in Bristol and Darlington.

Mr Cowcher added: "We are ready to help, so if you have a great idea that will reinvigorate or revitalise your community, now is the time to get involved."

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 the new two-year Village SOS campaign - helping more communities with the support of people who have already done it themselves.

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