TV’s Matt Baker adds name to landmark event for rural community enterprises
Matt Baker joins experts as they gather to support rural communities to inspire innovative business ideas to rejuvenate rural villages on Monday 27th February at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel, Birmingham.
TV personality Matt Baker is set to speak at a free landmark event to help rural communities save vital services and reverse the trend of rural decline.
Matt’s upbringing on his family’s sheep farm in the Dales fuelled his love of the countryside and its people, and led to his becoming one of the most recognisable personalities with regards to rural issues. He will share his own experiences of rural life at the Big Lottery Fund’s Village SOS national conference, which will draw on the widest range of experts from across the rural and social enterprise sectors to give communities the support they need to rejuvenate their villages by setting up community enterprises – from shops and pubs to local food and transport projects.
UK Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, Peter Ainsworth, will be joined on the day by leaders of the sector, including Plunkett Foundation’s Chief Executive Peter Couchman, Co-operatives UK’s Chair, David Button, Action for Communities in Rural England (ACRE)’s Chief Executive Sylvia Brown and Locality’s Chief Executive, Steve Wyler, all of whom are partners on the Big Lottery Fund’s Village SOS programme which provides the most comprehensive support ever available to communities setting up community enterprises across the UK.
Says Matt: “I am delighted to be a part of an event that aims to inspire rural communities to set up their own enterprises. Around 19 local pubs close each week, and 400 village shops close each year; the effects of this, along with limited transport options, rural isolation and lack of employment opportunities for young people, can all strike at the heart of village life. The Village SOS national conference will be the biggest event of its kind to help communities revive their villages through enterprise, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”
The UK’s community enterprise pioneers will also be present to inspire delegates to start up their own enterprises, like Fordhall Farm, the country’s first ever farm to be owned by its community, and Cybermoor, a revolutionary broadband community enterprise that has transformed broadband services for the most remote parish in England. They will be joined by specialists across the spectrum, from business and funding experts to planning and marketing professionals.
This free-to-attend event is the essential conference for anyone with an interest in rural communities and community enterprise. It will feature specialist workshops on topics like business planning and accessing finance, debates on issues facing rural communities and how they can be overcome, and the chance to have your say on what you need to rejuvenate your village.
For more information and to book your FREE place, visit www.villagesos.org.uk or call 0845 434 9123.