Rural Housing Week

Written by Cliff Andrews on . Posted in Latest News, Rural campaigns, Rural Housing Enabler, Supporting Communities

This week (6th – 12th July) is Rural Housing Week. The aim of the week is to highlight rural housing issues and to showcase the great projects that have been delivered nationally to tackle these problems. This is an excellent opportunity to shine a spotlight on successful developments that offer a lifeline to local people in our market towns and villages, and to reinforce the message that housing is vital to the survival of rural communities and services.

To find out more about Rural Housing nationally, visit: 

BRCC’s Housing service assists Parish Council to undertake Housing Needs Surveys in order to help provide affordable homes for people within their community.  For more information on our service, please contact Jemma McLean at or on 01234 832932


Have you met the Village Agents of Bedford Borough

Written by Teresa Moon on . Posted in Just Ask Village Agents

We make home visits to older people living in villages in Bedford Borough, to help them with free support & assistance.  From advice on home security & safety, to keeping warm in the winter & reducing energy bills, pensions & benefits, advice for carers, support for people living alone and help filling in forms.

We also try to make sure village residents don’t miss out on freebies such as carbon monoxide monitors, security timers, energy saving radiator sheets, and Message in a Bottle (a way of capturing all your essential personal details, in case of a medical emergency). Thanks to the Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust, we have been able to arrange for the Bobby Van to fit smoke alarms & door chains in homes where they are needed.

This year we have had a particular focus on Transport with the launch of the “Wheels in Motion” scheme. This scheme provides lower cost transport for older residents in rural areas of Bedford Borough. It offers two options – either door to door transport in a disability adapted vehicle at a fixed rate, or volunteer drivers who offer a door to door service in their own cars.

Village Agents are funded through BRCC by Bedford Borough Council. Our biggest challenge is letting people know we exist! We have limited resources for publicity & would like to thank you for your support in raising awareness of our services. We have an A5 poster which we would welcome help in displaying in Bedford (Borough) villages.

If you would like to make a referral to the Village Agents Scheme, please leave the details on our Freephone number: 0800 039 1234.


(Above image): One of our clients, who is happy with the carbon monoxide monitor we supplied her for free, through the generosity of the Katie Haines Memorial Trust.

Village SOS

Written by Cliff Andrews on . Posted in Latest News, Rural campaigns, Supporting Communities

BRCC, working in partnership with our national umbrella body – ACRE – have staff time available to support enterprising communities under the Big Lottery funded Village SOS initiative.

The initiative is all about helping communities to survive, thrive and become more enterprising. That might be by keeping services such as shops or playgroups alive for your village or by starting up a new enterprise that could create income to benefit your local area.

For more information visit: or e-mail


“Friends of Warden Abbey Vineyard” launched in English Wine week.

Written by Jane Markham on . Posted in Latest News, Rural campaigns, Warden Abbey Vineyard

The Friends of Warden Abbey Vineyard has just launched its new membership scheme in a package that will appeal to supporters, gardeners and wine lovers alike.  For a modest subscription, members can help support the community vineyard project and in return benefit from a range of opportunities.

Vineyard Manager Jane Markham said “It’s an exciting time for English wine, with home grown wines now gaining international awards, the number of vineyards expanding rapidly, and growing press interest. Now people can get involved through our new membership scheme. As well as newsletters, discounts and special events, members will be able to arrange to visit us as many times as they like for free when we are at the vineyard, so they can see the vines and grapes developing throughout the year. There aren’t many working vineyards where you could do that and someone has already suggested it would be really nice gift for a wine enthusiast!”

Full details are on the vineyard website at

The vineyard has been managed by BRCC as a community venture since 2010.  The Friends of Warden Abbey Vineyard was set up by volunteers to spread the word about the vineyard, its activities and opportunities, to increase the involvement of people in the vineyard, and to raise funds to support the project and further development of this historic vineyard.

Warden Abbey grapes

Warden Abbey grapes

Welcome to new MVCRP volunteers

Written by Stephen Sleight on . Posted in MVCRP, Ridgmont Station, Volunteering

Wishing a very warm welcome to Mandy Field and Teresa Hopkinson who have recently joined the MVCRP team.  Mandy is our new Volunteer Administration Assistant and Teresa is our Data Entry Assistant.

BRCC has a range of other volunteer opportunities at our offices in Cardington, London Road (Bedford) and Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre.  For further information, please contact Stephen Sleight on 01234 832645, or email:

Biggleswade Green Wheel

Written by Cliff Andrews on . Posted in Biggleswade Green Wheel

The Biggleswade Green Wheel is a walking and cycling route around the town, passing through areas of landscape, heritage and wildlife interest.  Much of the Green Wheel is now in place and able to be used, with remaining sections due be completed over the next year or two.  Start enjoying the Green Wheel now, and remember to look out for further route improvements in due course.

To find out more about the Biggleswade Green Wheel, click here

Or download our promotional material here


The spring vineyard at Warden Abbey

Written by Jon Boswell on . Posted in Latest News, Warden Abbey Vineyard

The Friends of Warden Abbey Vineyard are opening the vineyard for two tours as part of national celebrations for English Wine Week on Friday 29th May 2015.

Tours start at 11.30am and 2.30 pm and last 1.5 – 2 hours and include a tasting of two of the latest wines.

Entry is £8 for adults (accompanied children free) and must be booked in advance.

Contact or 07981 113714.

The vineyard is bursting into life at this time of year, and you can discover the secrets of its medieval history.

You can download the poster here

Competitive rates for DBS checking

Written by David Maxwell on . Posted in DBS Checking

We offer competitive rates for DBS checking and Level 2 Identity Verification for paid employees and volunteers, with up to 5 free DBS checks per year for volunteers (excluding Level 2 Identity Verification). Please note that your organisation needs to be a member of BRCC in order to access this service.

Find out more about how we can help you stay within the law.

Contact email:

BRCC wins national award for Ridgmont Station

Written by Stephen Sleight on . Posted in Ridgmont Station, Ridgmont Tea Rooms

The recently refurbished Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre and Tea Rooms has won 2nd place in the national Community Rail Awards, in the fiercely competitive ‘Most Enhanced Station Buildings’ category.

BRCC’s Transport Team Leader Stephen Sleight and volunteer Andy Buckley accepted the ACoRP award on behalf of the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership (MVCRP), which works to promote use of the Bedford to Bletchley rail line and is managed by BRCC.

This is the culmination of a long term project by BRCC and MVCRP (with further volunteer support from Bedford and Bletchley Rail Users’ association BBRUA) that has seen a semi derelict station building brought back into community use.

The former station house built in 1846 in a Victorian Gothic Cottage Orné style boasts a Tea Room in the former ladies waiting room, three offices, a Tourist Information Point, a small gift shop and a growing collection of railway heritage items in the restored booking office. Recent additions include a Community Cabinet which currently houses a 1930’s exhibtion.

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