Our story

Being part of a strong community can make all the difference to our quality of life.

The First World War decimated rural communities across England, leaving poverty in its wake and intensifying the need for improved education, health and welfare. In 1923 a group of socially-minded individuals from voluntary organisations in Gloucestershire came together to form Gloucestershire Rural Community Council (GRCC) “for the purpose of encouraging and fostering village activities and of bringing such activities into touch with each other and with central organisations”.

GRCC focused on five key areas: Health; Education; Juvenile Welfare; Rural Industries; and Music.

Whatever brought “happiness or elevation to a community” was considered a viable activity for GRCC “provided they are non-political and non-sectarian in character” and, in its early years, GRCC was involved in projects as diverse as music festivals, improving care for people with disabilities and establishing community centres and village halls.

Since GRCC first started life a lot has changed for our communities. Urbanisation and the ‘smaller world’ created by the internet has made our definition of community much wider, making GRCC a source of support, advice and practical help for communities in Gloucestershire’s towns and cities as well as in villages.

The involvement of multiple agencies in the issues affecting communities, and the policy decisions of central government, have made community decisions more complex and we have adapted over time to become experts in local and national policy and infrastructure so that we can support communities better in dealing with the issues that affect their future.

Not everything has changed, though.

Unemployment, poverty, educating, housing and caring for our diverse communities, and overcoming isolation affect us in Gloucestershire as much today as they always did and GRCC is still here, empowering urban and rural communities to make the best decisions for them.

Find out more about how we help today’s communities by visiting the What We Do section.