A £6m Government investment has enabled England’s 38 rural community councils (including BRCC) to pull in an additional £15m in funding, a new report has evaluated.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) commissioned the independent report to evaluate the first two years of a four-year agreement with Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), the national umbrella body for RCCs.
The report shows that for every £1 received from Defra, the ACRE Network secured £2.80 from other sources to use in its work in helping rural communities find innovative solutions to the challenges they face.
ACRE said the findings showed its Network was a trusted voice that provided ‘good value for money’ to funders.
ACRE chief executive Janice Banks said: “There is no doubt that this investment has enabled us to make a difference in the 11,000 rural communities we work with across England – whether that’s by delivering support on the ground, influencing local decision makers or feeding back intelligence from our 40,000 grass roots contacts to Defra to shape national policy.
“As the report points out, the average Defra investment in an RCC in 2012/13 was £62,000, which was used alongside an average £217,000 of funding from other sources. That Defra is able to secure the scale of activity provided by our Network from such a relatively small pot of funding represents good value for money.”
The report, by Brian Wilson Associates, highlighted that “whilst other networks are working with communities, no other network has the specific rural focus of the ACRE Network”. “National and local beneficiaries generally struggled to think of other organisations they could have turned to for advice, support or intelligence,” said the report.
For more information visit www.acre.org.uk