Continue funding for community action in rural England
Ninety years of dedicated support for England’s 11,000 rural communities is under threat after the Government warned it may withdraw funding from the ACRE Network.
This nationwide Network of rural community councils carries out crucial work to help our communities thrive.
It funds, leads or enables thousands of projects to help people tackle the challenges they face – from lack of affordable homes, broadband or public transport to supporting the young, the elderly and the most vulnerable in our society.
It is the only Network that provides advice to the 80,000 volunteers who keep England’s 10,000 village halls alive.
Without the Network's support, communities will be less resilient, services will be lost and more people will become lonely and isolated.
We call on Defra not to withdraw funding from the ACRE Network. To pull it now would fracture the Network, undermine years of investment and leave the most vulnerable in rural areas with nowhere to go.
Government responseAs this e-petition has received more than 10 000 signatures, the relevant Government department have provided the following response:
The Government values the work the ACRE Network does to support rural communities. That is why Defra has recently confirmed it will receive over £2 million worth of funding in the coming year.
Over the last four years Defra has provided over £10 million in grant funding for the Network, with support to find alternative sources of income and lessen reliance on central Government funding. Reducing the deficit remains a key priority and all Departments are looking carefully at their budgets to ensure this work stays on track.
The Government continues to support and invest in rural communities. Through the Rural Development Programme we will be investing £3.5 billion over the next seven years, including £177 million to support rural growth and £138 million through the new LEADER programme, with which many members of the ACRE Network are actively involved.
This e-petition remains open to signatures and will be considered for debate by the Backbench Business Committee should it pass the 100 000 signature threshold.
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