§ Alun Michael
The Countryside Agency established the Vital Villages Programme in 2001 in response to the Rural White Paper. It was a time-limited programme designed to demonstrate what communities could achieve. The Countryside Agency has met its three-year target to help rural communities to help themselves and demonstrate good practice.
In 2004–05 the Countryside Agency is targeting its resources on meeting all existing grant commitments under the Vital Villages programme and helping communities benefit from the funds already committed to them. It will also work to share the lessons learnt with regional and local delivery bodies.
§ Alun Michael
The Countryside Agency's Vital Villages programme has been independently monitored and evaluated over the past three years through six-monthly monitoring and annual evaluation reports. In addition, the Countryside Agency is undertaking impact evaluations of the Parish Plan and Community Service 865W grant schemes, with reports due by the end of September. The Rural Transport Partnership scheme has also been evaluated and a summary note will be published shortly.
The Countryside Agency has produced several publications drawing on these reports to share the successful lessons and the effectiveness of the schemes, namely:Get your Community Moving (transport);Great Ways to Go (transport);Wheels to Work (transport);Taxi Voucher Toolkit (transport);Parish Plan Guidance for Local Authorities; andParish Plan Guidance for Parish Councils.
The Agency has also published various leaflets on community buildings, case studies, and good practice (all schemes).