ACRE announce new chair of the Board

24 November 2022

Trustees and staff of Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) have welcomed the appointment of James Blake as new chair of the Board at the national rural charity’s AGM.

James brings to the organisation a lifelong interest in rural affairs, as well as extensive senior leadership experience gained in both central and local government, and most recently as serving Chief Executive of the Youth Hostels Association. James will provide fresh perspectives on addressing long-standing rural concerns, many of which have been made worse recently by the cost-of-living crisis.

James succeeds David Emerson CBE who steered the organisation through some of the most turbulent years in the charity’s history and saw its reputation as a source of rural expertise grow, particularly for the insight and advice it provided to England’s 10,000 village halls during the pandemic.

Speaking about his appointment, James said: “I am delighted to be joining ACRE as Chair at a critical time for rural communities. The charity has a long track record of fighting the corner of people who find themselves at a disadvantage because of where they live – highlighting rural challenges such as a lack of affordable housing, access to services and loneliness that would otherwise go unnoticed. At a time of great economic uncertainty, rising prices, energy insecurity and the growing environmental crisis, it will be critical to re-examine the ways that rural communities can be supported to become more resilient, sustainable and inclusive. I am very much looking forward to working with the ACRE Board, staff team and national and local partners to tackle these very real challenges”.

Read more on the ACRE website here.