Find out all the latest news about us and our work supporting local communities.
Cambridgeshire ACRE’s current Vice President is Julie Spence OBE QPM. In 2017, Julie was appointed by Her Majesty The Queen as the 37th Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, the Sovereign’s representative in the County.
Professionally, Julie trained as a teacher before joining the Police in 1978 and being appointed Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire in 2005. In the Queen’s 80th Birthday Honours, Julie was awarded an OBE for her management of complex and contentious organisational issues and leadership contribution. In 2008 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by Anglia Ruskin University: then in the 2010 New Year’s Honours list she received the Queens Police Medal (QPM). In September 2010, after a 32 year career, she retired from policing.
Programme Development Manager
Mark joined Cambridgeshire ACRE in 2012 to lead our five-year Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership project. Following its conclusion he used his skills in project development to become our Programme Development Manager. He is currently leading a bid to secure UNESCO nomination for a Biosphere for the Fens.
Mark has an MA in Archaeology from Leiden University in The Netherlands and a further MA in Osteoarchaeology from the University of Southampton. In his previous professional life he worked as an Archaeologist, a Landscape Gardener and a Heritage Consultant.
Kirsten joined Cambridgeshire ACRE in 2000 and then quickly assumed the role of Chief Executive from 2001. She oversees the work of the charity and puts in place our plans and strategies for the future. Day-to-day, Kirsten develops our relationships with new partners, explores new opportunities and oversees all aspects of the charity’s work.
Before working at Cambridgeshire ACRE, Kirsten attended Writtle Agricultural College gaining a BSc in Agriculture and then completed a Masters in Countryside Recreation Management at Sheffield Hallam University.
Rural and Community Led Housing Development Officer
Jenna joined the Cambridgeshire ACRE team in 2020. Her role involves leading our rural housing partnership, developing affordable schemes on rural exception sites and delivering housing enabling and co-ordination support for community-led housing through Eastern Community Homes.
Jenna has a BSc in Geography from University of East Anglia and prior to join the organisation worked as a Graduate Housing Strategy and Enabling Officer at West Suffolk Council. Since joining Cambridgeshire ACRE she has become an accredited Community Led Housing Advisor.
Head of Business Services
Alison has been Head of Business Services at Cambridgeshire ACRE since 2007. Day-to-day Alison is involved in everything from developing new opportunities for Cambridgeshire ACRE, shaping the direction of existing projects, overseeing the delivery of advice and information to our members and working with our Board.
Prior to joining Cambridgeshire ACRE, Alison worked in the private sector holding roles in executive support and facilities management. Alison has BSc in Sociology from University of Southampton.
Community Development Manager
Rachael became part of the Cambridgeshire ACRE team in 2006, initially running a gardening project and then moving to her current role as our Community Development Manager where she leads a number of our environmental projects and use her skills in volunteer management.
Rachael has a BSc in Horticulture from Bath University and, upon leaving there, put her skills to work in the private sector before becoming a primary school teacher for several years.
Economic Programmes Manager
Kieran joined Cambridgeshire ACRE in 2014 following 15 years spent working at Director and Senior Manager level for charities including Deafblind UK and Papworth Trust. At Cambridgeshire ACRE he has responsibility for overseeing our economic programmes, including some large grant-funded programmes and our housing projects.
Kieran has a BA in Business Studies from Manchester Polytechnic and holds a post-graduate diploma in management and leadership from Henley Business School.
Olivia joined the Cambridgeshire ACRE team in 2020. Her role involves providing administration and customer support to all our economic programmes.
Olivia has a BSc in Human and Physical Geography from Reading University. Since joining Cambridgeshire ACRE she has become an accredited Community Led Housing Advisor.
Community Development Officer
Lisa became part of the Cambridgeshire ACRE team in 2015 taking on the role of Community Development Officer. The greater part of her week is spent providing expert support and advice to the County’s community-run buildings with the remainder being spent supporting our community health and wellbeing project dealing with fuel poverty.
Prior to joining Cambridgeshire ACRE, Lisa was the County Councillor and Cabinet Member for Education and Skills at Suffolk County Council.
New Life on the Old West Project Manager
Howard joined Cambridgeshire ACRE in early 2021. As the New Life on the Old West Project Manager he is responsible for the successful delivery of our three year Natural Lottery Heritage Fund-financed landscape-scale natural heritage project focusing on the area surrounding the Old West river.
Prior to joining Cambridgeshire ACRE, Howard worked at the University of East Anglia where he delivered another successful Natural Lottery Heritage Fund project focusing on understanding, restoring and renewing the region’s orchard heritage. Howard has a degree in law from University of Wales, Aberystwyth (practising as a solicitor from 1998 to 2012) before changing career direction and gaining an MSc in Environmental Conservation and Management from Swansea Metropolitan University.
Linda joined Cambridgeshire ACRE in 2005. Her role as Finance Officer sees her administer all the financial processes of Cambridgeshire ACRE, ensuring up-to-date and accurate financial information is available at all times.
Prior to joining the organisation, Linda spent over 20 years working within the charity and the commercial sector gaining wide-ranging financial administration experience.
Cambridgeshire ACRE’s current President is the Right Reverend Stephen Conway, the 69th Bishop of Ely. Bishop Stephen is a great supporter of rural communities, particularly on issues such as education, mental health and disability. As well as being President of Cambridgeshire ACRE, he is also a patron of the Arthur Rank Hospice and of Romsey Mill in Cambridge, of Arts and Minds, the National Youth Arts Trust and of Kairos UK.
Bishop Stephen chairs our Annual General Meeting and shows a keen interest in the work we do supporting and strengthening rural communities to take action for themselves.
Chairperson and Trustee
Annie became a trustee of Cambridgeshire ACRE in 2017 and took on the Chairperson role shortly afterwards. She has been a volunteer for community and parish organisations in the village of Folksworth and the surrounding area for over 30 years.
Professionally, she had a career in the financial and insurance sectors before changing vocation and training in the educational sector as an arts educator / practitioner.
Dave became a trustee of Cambridgeshire ACRE in 2017. In his professional life, he was a community development worker specialising in finance and external funding. Since moving to the Fens, Dave has taken on a number of parish clerk roles, as well as being a trustee of Newton Village Hall.
Brian has been a trustee of Cambridgeshire ACRE since 1999. Prior to retirement, Brian was an engineer and ran his own consultancy service specialising in infrastructure design and contract management.
Vice Chairperson, Treasurer and Trustee
Mike joined the Board in 2006. He runs his own company specialising in supplying scientific instruments and complete technical/medical laboratories to research, industry and high educational establishments.
Mike is also a trustee of the Horningsea Millennium Green Trust and Village Hall Trust, as well as a director of Horningsea CIC.
Vice Chairperson and Trustee
Terry became a trustee of Cambridgeshire ACRE in 2011. Terry is currently the Clerk and Responsible Finance Officer for Wisbech Town Council in Fenland and has worked in local government in Cambridgeshire for more than 40 years.
Terry is also a trustee of CP Learning Trust.
Hugh has been a trustee of Cambridgeshire ACRE since May 2009. Hugh has been Archdeacon of Huntingdon and Wisbech since 2005 having responsibility for the care of the clergy and church communities in the north and west of the diocese.
Hugh is Vice-Chairman of the Trustees of Ridley Hall Theological College in Cambridge, a member of The Church of England’s General Synod, President of the Huntingdonshire District Blind Society and a Governor at Wisbech Grammar School.
Elizabeth joined Cambridgeshire ACRE in September 2008. Her professional career was spent in English local government archives including being Head of Heritage and County Archivist for Cambridgeshire County Council for 11 years. She is a governor at Mepal and Witcham C of E Primary School, as well as churchwarden of her village church.
Hazel joined the board of Cambridgeshire ACRE in 1994. She is a parish councillor in her village of Burwell, chairs the board of Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and sits on the boards of Burwell Community Print and Burwell Day Centre.
Hazel was awarded the MBE in 2010 for services to charities in Cambridgeshire.
New Life on the Old West Natural Heritage and Communities Officer
Laura joined Cambridgeshire ACRE in 2021. Working exclusively on the New Life on the Old West project, Laura works to engage partners, communities and landowners in the project and to create opportunities for local people to learn about and connect with the diverse Fenland natural landscape.
Prior to working at Cambridgeshire ACRE, Laura completed a Masters in Heritage Management at Bath Spa University and completed her first degree in Geography at Keele University.