East Sussex Rural Partnership – ‘Making Our Own Future’

On Thursday 29th September approximately 50 representatives from the public, private and voluntary sector attended the meeting of the East Sussex Rural Partnership at Robertsbridge Community Hall. This was the first of three meetings scheduled to explore a range of key themes currently affecting the rural parts of East Sussex.

Graham Peters, Chairman of East Sussex Rural Partnership and Vice-Chair of the South East LEP opened the meeting and provided a general introduction to the day, before setting out the special contribution of the rural areas to East Sussex’s economy.

The first guest speaker was Shirley Trundle CBE, Director of Rural and the Natural Environment at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who provided an update of the current priorities for DEFRA. A copy of the presentation is available here: ESRP September 2016 – Shirley Trundle Defra Presentation

This was followed by a short session on the South East LEP’s Rural Strategy by Stuart Gibbons (Manager of SELEP’s EAFRD funding stream) on the role of the Rural Strategy and the availability of funding in the coming months.


In the afternoon session, attendees were invited to contribute to one of three workshops:

1. Business advice services – the South East Business Boost
Consultation session with consultants who are working with Business East Sussex and East Sussex County Council on enhancing the reach of current business support services under the banner of the Growth Hub – Business East Sussex (BES).
Lead: Deborah Wyatt, EBS  Consulting

Workshop 1 Notes:


2. Widening participation in the economy and the contribution of extended childcare Exploratory session to identify ways in which participation in the rural economy can be increased and maximum advantage taken from the government’s commitment to extend free childcare provision from 15 to 30 hours per week.
Lead: Gill Cameron-Waller, Policy & Partnerships Manager, Wealden District Council.

Workshop 2 notes:

East Sussex Rural Partnership 29th September 2016 – Workshop 2 – Economy & Childcare

3. Culture, countryside and community Exploratory session to identify projects that could bring benefits to the rural economy for East Sussex by tapping into, and supporting, its matchless countryside, vigorous community spirit and unique culture.
Lead: Sally Staples, Cultural Strategy Manager, East Sussex County Council.

Workshop 3 Notes:

East Sussex Rural Partnership 29th September 2016 – Workshop 3 – Culture countryside

Future Rural Partnership Meetings:

Theme: Neighbourhood Plans, infrastructure and service planning
17th November 2016 – High Hurstwood Village Hall
For more information and to book places, please click here

Theme: Social isolation and health & well-being
19th January 2017 – Barcombe Village Hall
For more information and to book places, please click here

“Supporting rural communities in Sussex to be vibrant and diverse places in which to live and work.”