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Cumbrian Charity at European Rural Parliament

Issued 17 Nov 2015

Hellen Aitken from ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT) was one of a delegation of five members of the ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) Network who attended the recent European Rural Parliament gathering in Schärding in Austria.

The delegation from England joined over 200 people representing 40 European countries to approve a European Rural Manifesto.

The Manifesto calls upon the European Union for full recognition of the right of rural communities to a quality of life and standard of living equal to that of urban populations. ACRE is a member of the European Rural Community Alliance and England’s lead body for the European Rural Parliament.

The European Rural Parliament which is jointly initiated by three European rural networks: the European Rural Community Alliance; PREPARE Partnership for Rural Europe; and European LEADER Association for Rural Development.

Deborah Clarke from ACRE said “We were pleased to have been able to take part in this second European Rural Parliament and to have been able to contribute to the Manifesto.

“We submitted a report to the Parliament in July and helped to shape the Manifesto through field visits, plenary sessions and workshops at the event in Schärding. It was a privilege to meet and work with so many people from across and outside the EU.

“ACRE has been asked to present a copy of the Manifesto to Defra by the European Rural Parliament organisers, who will continue to enable the actions called for within it, in co-operation with national and European partners, governments and institutions”

Hellen Aitken from ACT said “It was a great experience to be part of the European Rural Parliament, to contribute to the Manifesto, and to meet with so many rural representatives from other countries. ACT champions rural and community issues here in Cumbria and provides practical advice and support to communities across a wide range of initiatives.”

For more information about ACT, contact Tel: 01228 817224 or Email: For more information about the European Rural Parliament and to read the Manifesto visit:

Photo: (L – R) Kevin Butcher, RCC Leicestershire and Rutland; Hellen Aitken, ACTion with Communities in Cumbria (ACT); Deborah Clarke, Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE); Michael Dower, PREPARE; Professor Mark Shucksmith, Newcastle University.

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