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ACTion with Communities in Cumbria is the community development organisation and Rural Community Council for Cumbria with over 60 years of experience assisting communities to achieve their aspirations.

ACT champions community and rural issues, we support communities to plan for their future, develop projects, work with others, and influence and change policy. We are particularly active in rural areas among communities affected by disadvantage whether this is economic, social or physical. We provide practical advice and support, deliver training, and offer independent facilitation. Read our 2012-2013 Annual Report or visit the What We Do page to find out more about current and previous ACT projects including our work with Community Buildings and Community Led Planning groups. Over the years we have produced a wide variety of guidance resources and materials to support a range of community activity: guidance sheets, case studies, workbooks, toolkits, and the ACT Gazette newsletter are all available via Resources and Publications.

You can Join us by becoming an ACT Member or ACT Supporter (it’s free!) and follow us on Twitter @ACTCumbria. Visit the Staff and Trustees pages for profiles of our staff, trustees, president, vice president and patron.

Through a variety of partnerships ACT is able to represent the interests of communities, acting as a bridge between local people and the agencies and authorities that impact on their daily lives. ACT helps to raise awareness of local needs and to improve the relevance and responsiveness of services. Cumbria Rural Forum, facilitated by ACT, is an example of this, providing individuals and agencies with a place to come together and discuss issues of concern to rural life.  ACT uses evidence gathered through its community development activities to influence policy and decision making, locally and nationally. Key sources of evidence and information include: primary research projects; local priorities identified in Community Led Plans; and Evidencing Rural Need data. More information about ACT’s research projects, and other sources of information can be found in Research and Other Publications.

ACT has many years of experience supporting businesses in Cumbria. We currently support the Rural Women’s Network and deliver Social Enterprise Business Start Up Support. ACT also offers serviced office accommodation, with ‘easy-in, easy-out’ terms and ample free parking on site at The Old Stables offices near Penrith. Contact us for more information or to arrange a visit.

ACT's work is underpinned by a core set of values: Excellence and Professionalism, Impartiality and Integrity, Community Action and Inclusivity, and Environmental Responsibility. In support of these values, ACT provides a supportive working environment for its staff and the communities it works with, backed up by accredited quality standards recognising excellent working practice: ISO 9001 and ACRE Level 3. ACT has also been awarded the CBEN Gold Award in recognition of our commitment to environmental responsibility.

ACT was established as a community development organisation owned by the people of Cumbria in 1948, find out more in ACT History. ACT is one of thirty eight members of the national Rural Community Action Network (RCAN) operating under the umbrella body Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE). To find out more about RCAN and ACRE, visit www.acre.org.uk.

ACT is a community development organisation, using the following definition: 'Good community development is action that helps people to recognise and develop their ability and potential and organise themselves to respond to problems and needs which they share. Good community development supports the establishment of strong communities that control and use assets to help improve the quality of community life. It also enables community and public agencies to work together to improve the quality of government.'

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