Borough hosts annual rural conference

Published Friday, 18 March 2022
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AN ANNUAL RURAL conference has helped to identify a work programme to tackle some of the most common issues faced by people living in rural areas of the borough during the next year.

Each year the event offers delegates the opportunity to keep up to date on the most important issues faced by communities in rural areas of the Borough and receive updates on work going on in the area. Delegates were able to return in person to the Twycross Zoo venue this year following last year’s virtual event, although everyone also had the option to attend online, enabling greater access to the event.

The event, which is organised by Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council (HBBC), attracted 90 delegates representing the rural parishes of the borough, along with key partners including Leicestershire Police, the Rural Communities Council, Midlands Rural Housing and Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland Resilience Partnership as well as voluntary and community sector and business representatives. 

This year’s event focused on celebrating some of the great work that has been delivered in the borough’s rural communities over the last year including important community projects funded through the Borough Council’s Parish and Community Initiative Fund – such as defibrillators at Sutton Cheney, Desford allotment pitch and hedge laying in Carlton - as well as the completed renovation of St Margaret’s Church in Stoke Golding supported by the council’s Developing Communities Fund. 

Delegates heard a welcome from Sharon Redrobe, Chief Executive at Twycross Zoo, reporting on their recovery from the impact of the pandemic, and the securing of £19 million levelling up fund to support the development of world class research and conversation centre at the Zoo.

Inspector Jamie Osborne, the Local Police Unit Commander, and Rachel Burgess from the HBBC Community Safety Team, also spoke to report on the key challenges, successes, and priorities for rural policing.  Delegates were also reminded about the recently refreshed Climate Change Strategy, and heard about a range of community initiatives supporting this strategy, with a particular highlight being a presentation by students from the Eco Club at St Martins School reporting on the work they are doing to raise awareness within their school about the measures all students and teachers can take to help reduce the impact of climate change.

The event respectfully acknowledged the crisis in Ukraine with delegates observing a one-minute period of silence and reflection.

Councillor Martin Cartwright, Executive Member for Rural Affairs said:

Almost two years ago I hosted my first rural conference at Twycross Zoo as Executive Member for rural issues. Days later the whole country went into lockdown at the start of the pandemic. Now, two years on we are just seeing the last of the restrictions being removed that have changed all our lives. 

It was great to be back at Twycross Zoo seeing everyone and for the first time ever jointly streaming online. 

I would like to thank all of our Parish Councillors and Clerks along with our partners for all the work they do for the Borough’s communities. The Rural Conference is held to celebrate that great work, update on issues still be resolved in the future and the opportunity to network once again face to face.

For further details about the rural work programme and strategy please contact Edwina Grant, Strategic and Community Planning Officer on 01455 255629 or email