The East Riding of Yorkshire Rural Partnership celebrated its 25th anniversary at Bishop Burton College on Wednesday, 20 March.

The partnership was formed in 1998 to ensure the ‘rural voice’ was heard by government, and that the needs of people living in the countryside were addressed. Its core mission is to promote the economic and social wellbeing of residents.

Members of the partnership represent organisations from the public, private, voluntary, and community sectors. Working together, they inform policy makers, lobby for resources, and share knowledge and best practice.

Stakeholders involved in the wellbeing of our rural communities have come together through the partnership to tackle problems facing the countryside, and to maximise the opportunities arising from its many assets.

The partnership’s achievements over the past 25 years have been many and varied, from creating the Enjoy Local Food and Drink Guide, which promotes local produce and rural businesses, to offering business development courses and support to farmers, and helping enhance local assets, such as the Market Weighton Canal Trail.

More than 60 people attended the celebratory event at Bishop Burton College, which was hosted by Councillor Leo Hammond, portfolio holder for planning, communities and public protection.

The event featured talks from television and radio presenter Lindsey Chapman, chief executive of the rural services network Kerry Booth, and Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Jonathan Evison, among others.

Talks covered a range of topics, from the benefits of rural living and community transport to rural crime and farming for the future.

Helen Wright, rural policy and partnerships manager, said: "Through its support for the Rural Partnership, East Riding of Yorkshire Council has demonstrated that ‘rural really does matter’, and that it recognises the distinctive needs and opportunities in its rural communities.

“It is a tremendous achievement that the Rural Partnership has remained active and effective for 25 years. It continues to go from strength to strength. It is now starting to look at its priorities going forward to ensure that the next generation of rural communities are vibrant and thriving.”

Sir Ian Macdonald, chairman of the Rural Partnership, was honoured with the Chairman’s Special Award for his dedication and ongoing support for the Partnership over 25 years. The award was presented to Sir Ian by Councillor John Whittle, chairman of the council.

Councillor Leo Hammond said: “I am proud to be a member of a council who recognises the separate needs and issues faced by its rural communities, and who is committed to working to improve the lives of its rural communities.

“The Partnership gives rural areas, like ours, a strong voice locally and nationally to lobby for what we need to improve our rural economy and way of life, such as better broadband connectivity and more public transport.

“I’d like to thank Sir Ian and Helen Wright for all their work over the past 25 years to make the partnership a success and support our rural communities.”

Visit the Rural Partnership website to learn more about its work and how you can get involved.