The East of England Rural Forum (EERF)

2009 Annual Conference

Rural Communities Helping the Region through the Economic Downturn

On March 4th 2009 the East of England Rural Forum hosted their Annual Conference at Lavenham Village Hall, Suffolk.

The purpose of the Conference was to:

  • Assess the effect of the downturn on the region’s economy and how this impacts on rural communities by identifying the key issues that they are facing.

  • Work closely with key regional partners to identify opportunities to support initiatives that will help alleviate the full impact.

  • Provide core Government Departments and the Commission for Rural Communities with information and evidence of the positive impact that rural areas can make in order to aid them to develop policy.

Peter Couchman, Acting Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation was the key note speaker. His key note address was entitled “Credit Crunch, an Opportunity”

Responses were made by:

Ron King, Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, East Anglia Region - “Small Business – the backbone of the Rural Economy”

Sue Wigley, Area Manager, CAB – “The Credit Crunch – a view from the CAB Service in the East of England”

Matthew Dodd, Policy and Information Manager, Homes and Communities Agency- "Where is Rural Housing in the Middle of a Credit Crunch?”

Carole Randall, Renewables Deployment Manager, Renewables East – “Renewable Energy Solutions for Rural Areas”

County Forum Responses:

We also heard from Juliet Johnson and Will Aston on the work they are currently undertaking for the Commission for Rural Communities. Financial Inclusion Champions and DWP Financial Inclusion Champion Initiative.