Who are we?

We are a not for profit charity supporting communities across Cornwall.

Dating back to just after the Second World War, we have set up many services that have improved the lives of people right across Cornwall.

In 2016, CRCC and Penwith Community Development Trust (PCDT) a similar organisation based in Penzance, merged and are now collectively registered under Cornwall Community Development Limited (CCDL) and work under a single board of trustees.  Both have retained their trading names and continue to deliver collaboratively.

With, on average, 70 staff and a turnover of approximately £2M a year, we support a number of projects such as, community development; fishing and coastal communities; infrastructure services, training provision, informal and unpaid carers, volunteer led projects and support for young people.

CRCC is part of a network of 38 RCCs across England, all sharing the aim of enhancing rural communities. RCCs are represented at a national level by ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England).

CRCC’s main office is in central Truro, with a satellite office in St Dennis, and PCDT’s premises are located in Penzance.

The Charity delivers varied projects, which are greatly valued by those supported and helps the organisation to meet its charitable mission of building ‘vibrant, sustainable, inclusive communities’.

Peter Jefferson, our Chief Executive, had served 25 years as a commissioned officer in the Royal Navy before joining the CRCC in 2009.

His wealth of management and personnel experience as a commanding officer, within headquarters staff, procurement and as an aircraft captain provides the CRCC with a capable CEO. On a more formal note, in addition to being a graduate of Britannic Royal Naval College, Peter has a degree in civil and structural engineering and formal staff officer training.

Peter and his family have lived near Truro for the last 25 years, Peter said “working at the CRCC with such wonderful staff is a real privilege.  We are all working through challenging times and we are determined not to let the challenges that are facing us as an organisation detract us from supporting the communities of Cornwall that we care so much about.”

CRCC is overseen by a board of 12 trustees, to which Karlene Stokes was appointed as Chair in December 2017.

The board has representation of Cornwall Council elected members, with a wide range of interests and skills from across the county. Trustees are involved at different levels, with an Executive Committee working closely with the Chief Executive and finance team. Trustees have general involvement with all staff, which helps their understanding of work and enables them to provide appropriate support when needed.

Colonel Edward Bolitho was appointed as Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall in September 2011 and we are delighted that he became our Patron.

The origins of Cornwall Rural Community Charity are preceded by the establishment of the Oxfordshire Rural Community Council, the first in the country, by Grace Hadow in 1920.

Grace Hadow was active in the women’s suffrage movement, helped establish Britain’s Women’s Institute network and saw the Rural Community Council (RCC) as a way of addressing social problems in the countryside which arose following the end of the First World War.

Other RCCs were slowly established, with Cornwall RCC being founded immediately after the Second World War in 1946 (although at that time it was known as Council of Social Service for Cornwall, the name wasn’t changed until the 1980’s). Prior to this, assistance to Cornwall’s growing network of village halls was delivered from an outpost of the National Council for Social Services in Bristol, mainly through correspondence, although occasional visits were undertaken by an officer driving down to what was then, in a pre-motorway era, a remote and unspoilt corner of the British Isles.

For a number of decades, the work of the CRCC was led by the Rev John Pearce and support to parish councils, playing fields and village halls comprised the focus for most of the charity’s activities as well as support for the welfare of the young and elderly and marriage guidance. As the organisation grew and its remit broadened into other areas of community life, it has moved location from its original offices in Strangways Terrace, Truro, several times.

Today the organisation is a large, modern charitable company which delivers a wide range of services and support to Cornish community groups and individuals. Its original ethos of responding to local needs still holds true and the services it provides in order to do this continue to evolve as circumstances change within and across Cornwall.