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CRC Newsletter August 2011

Welcome to the first issue of the newsletter from the Commission for Rural Communities. We continues to operate our three statutory functions of advice, advocacy and watchdog, providing Ministers with an independent view of issues facing rural communities. Our business plan for 2011-12 includes a number of exciting projects, and our Chairman and Commissioners are contining to make a difference to Government thinking over matters such as upland communities, housing and planning, and the rural economy.

If you’re involved in a voluntary organisation delivering services for older people, we would be interested to know how you are meeting the challenge of organisational and financial changes, by taking part in our survey.

Please feel free to get in touch about any of the issues raised in this newsletter.

Jon Carling

Chief Executive

Commission for Rural Communities


CRC Business Plan 2011-12

Our Business Plan was signed off by Defra Ministers in June. It includes an important project looking at the experiences of young people from rural areas who are seeking employment, training or education.  The importance of young people to rural communities was one of the key issues raised by our chairman, Dr Stuart Burgess, in his 2010 Rural Advocate report.

The Business Plan also includes a project looking at social isolation experienced by older people in rural areas. In both cases, we will be examining the impact of current policy changes on the services those people use; and looking for examples of good practice which might be repeatable in other areas. As mentioned above, if you are involved in a voluntary of community-led organisation which delivers services to older people in rural areas, we would be very interested to know your views on any current challenges you face, by taking part in our survey.

High ground, high potential : a future for England’s upland communities – Next Steps

The aim of our Inquiry into the uplands was ‘to identify and evaluate the drivers of change in upland communities, and to develop policy recommendations to enable and equip them to move towards more secure, economically prosperous and sustainable futures’. The full report of this work can be found here, with a short summary here.

A number of our Commissioners are working with various partners to assess the Government’s response to our recommendations, and are maintaining regular dialogue with Defra’s Rural Communities Policy Unit to ensure our recommendations are progressed.

The rural big society

The Big Society approach is already alive and well in many of our rural villages and market towns. But there’s a lot more that could be done to help.

Earlier this year, the CRC and Respublica worked together to develop this briefing paper,  based on engagement with a broad cross section of rural interest groups. It  looks at the value of the Big Society approach to rural communities and makes a series of recommendations for action.

Community-led planning

The CRC has also supported ACRE’s recently-published guide to Community-led planning. For those producing community plans, it could be invaluable. It  will be of particular interest to officers and elected members who want to take forward the Government’s new localism measures by building on existing experience and best practice.

Contact us

Contact details for CRC staff can be found at this link.

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