About us

Cambridgeshire ACRE offers support, resources and specialist advice to communities and partners across a wide range of topics areas connected to rural community life.

We work alongside real people in rural communities to make a difference.

Cambridgeshire ACRE is an independent organisation, a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. We’re also part of the national ACRE Network of 38 similar organisations in England.

Our vision is to have thriving rural communities across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. We therefore strive for positive change and work with others to improve the lives of those living and working in rural communities.

Our action-driven approach is supported by the expertise of our staff, plus the advice from our team is delivered by experts in their fields and not influenced by any other body. Communities can therefore have peace of mind knowing that their ambitions are in the best possible hands. Find out more about our team and board.

Our aim is to help rural communities seize opportunities and drive their projects forward, which includes improving their accessibility to services, information, funding and customers. Take a look at our What do we do pages for more information and examples

Our strategy

Cambridgeshire ACRE’s strategy for the period 2019 – 2024, called “Towards our 100th Year: Building stronger rural communities”, was launched by our President at our Annual General Meeting in September 2019.

Our strategy provides an overview of our long-term plans and establishes our priorities for serving the needs of rural communities over the next five years. Our strategy was developed in consultation with our staff, trustees, members and partners.

Each year we produce an annual business plan that sets our annual targets, timescales and the outcome monitoring framework.  We use this to report our progress at our Annual General Meeting each year. Read our latest annual report.

Our history

Cambridgeshire ACRE is one of the oldest voluntary and community organisations in Cambridgeshire. We started out in 1924 as Cambridgeshire Rural Community Council and in 1998 we changed our name to Cambridgeshire ACRE (ACRE stands for Action with Communities in Rural England).

The Rural Community Council movement was founded by the National Council of Social Service (the forerunner of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations) in the years after the first World War.

The newly formed rural community councils were charged with two principal aims during the depression between the first and second World Wars, when agriculture and its ancillary industries were at a low ebb: to work with local people to build village halls, and to revitalise the countryside and its economy.

The (then) Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Charles Adeane was the first Chair of the Charity and keenly supported the charity’s work.

Additionally Henry Morris – another founding trustee – took up the post of Secretary of Education for Cambridgeshire in 1922. Henry is well known for his vision of integrating secondary and community education. Furthermore, he recognised the need for better educational and social facilities in the countryside.

Some of the Charity’s earliest pioneering work included supporting communities to build village halls; organising and providing lecturers for a comprehensive programme of adult education; supporting village drama groups and competitions to aid adult literacy; and finally, campaigning for better housing conditions.

We look forward to celebrating our 100th birthday in 2024.

Read more about the ACRE network

Become a member
Options for individuals, communities, businesses and organisations.
Our funders
We are grateful to all those who fund our work with rural communities.
Work for us
We recognise that the enthusiasm and passion of our staff is key to our success.

News and publications

Latest News about our projects.