Evaluation of the annual Defra grant to Action for Communities in Rural England (ACRE)

Delivered by a consortium led by Ecorys UK, this evaluation adopted a comprehensive mixed-methods approach to assess the annual grant support provided to ACRE by Defra, leveraging a Theory of Change (ToC) framework. CCRI’s involvement focused on Work Package 6.

Theory-Based Case Studies (WP6): We conducted in-depth case studies with selected ACRE Network members, the organisations they support locally and beneficiary communities, diving into the specifics of how funding is utilized at the local level and the resultant impacts. These case studies were vital for testing the grant’s delivery against the established ToC; exploring the outcomes facilitated by Defra’s funding of the ACRE Network, and the enablers and barriers to effective use of the grant against Defra’s programme priorities.

This evaluation represents a robust effort to measure the effectiveness of Defra’s grant support to ACRE, with the goal of enhancing the delivery and impact of funding for rural communities.

Undertaken over a year from September 2023, the CCRI team was led by Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins, and included Demelza Jones, Katarina Kubinakova and Aimee Morse.

CCRI REF: 2022-119