ACRE appoints interim chief executive

Leading rural network ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) has appointed Richard Quallington as interim chief executive, its board announced this week. Richard succeeds Janice Banks at the helm of the charity, which is the national voice for the ACRE Network of 38 rural community councils.

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

Richard, who lives in Worcestershire, is a former vice chair of ACRE and past chair of Regional Action West Midlands (RAWM). A planner by training, he has many years’ experience of working with and lobbying on behalf of rural communities about affordable housing, transport, services, broadband and regeneration initiatives.

He will steer ACRE through a restructure following a board review of the future for ACRE, which has secured £2.3m of Defra funding for its Network for 2015/16.

Richard 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 CBE said: “We are pleased to welcome Richard on board as interim chief executive while we restructure the organisation to enable us to continue to provide effective support to our members. His experience will allow ACRE to carry on its work in supporting communities and enabling the voice of rural England to be heard at the highest level in Government.

“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. 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.”

The Buckinghamshire Rural Community Council and ACRE representative is Community Impact Bucks. Nick Phillips Chief Executive said “I am sure Richard will continue to extend the influence of ACRE and in doing so help protect rural communities. We are very aware in Buckinghamshire that rural communities need the investment ACRE brings to support key grass roots services in transport, village halls, community project support, housing and much more.”