The East of England Rural Forum (EERF)

Chair and Vice Chair

Pat Holtom: Rural Forum Chair
Chair of Norfolk Rural Forum; Vice President Norfolk Rural Community Council; Vice Chair of ACRE (Action With Communities in Rural England); Chair of the Waveney Valley Leader Local Area Action Group; Board Member of Screen East, the regional screen agency; former EEDA Board member with the rural issues brief; former Rural Development Officer with Norfolk County Council dealing with social, economic, environmental and training projects. I am currently working as a freelance consultant on rural issues including bid writing, evaluation, training, facilitation and research. 

Martin Collinson: Rural Forum Vice-Chair
Martin works as a rural and agricultural policy consultant and runs his own business, Collison and Associates Limited. His work brings him into contact with a range of clients across government, business and community sectors with most of his work now focused on rural development.

He was an academic for 16 years specialising in rural policy and international trade, and still lectures part time on food markets, policy and leadership as well as supporting a number of universities with research projects on agricultural, rural and sustainable development.

In addition to rural consultancy he has business experience as a business owner/director in the farming, education and horticultural import sectors. Martin chairs the East of England Rural Forum’s Learning and Skills sub group, and is a member of the region’s Sustainable Farming and Food Industry Group, the East of England Migrant Worker Steering Group and Fens Adventurers RDPE Local Action Group.

Suzanne Harris: Rural Forum Vice-Chair
Suzanne works for Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE) as Development Manager (for Partnerships, Relationships and Programmes); a role which sees her involved in lobbying and policy work, as well as co-ordinating the Essex Rural Partnership and delivery of its action plan.

Working on the Essex Local Area Agreement, Suzanne is joint-lead on National Indicator 4 (percentage of people who feel they can influence local decisions) and played a key role in establishing a Local Indicator for Access to Services in the Essex county LAA. Working on the previous LAA Suzanne played a significant part in re-writing the Essex Compact, which was launched in February 2009. In her personal life, Suzanne was editor of a Village Newsletter for a number of years and served on a Parochial Church Council for over 10 years; during this time she chaired a sub-committee and served a 3-year term on both Deanery and Diocesan Synod.

Suzanne has lived in rural Essex all her life and has a passion for ensuring that rural communities are able to be sustainable in social, economic and environmental terms.