About Rural Policy Group

Rural Policy Group is an action-oriented think tank committed to responding to the needs of rural businesses. We strive to improve knowledge and access to information, support innovation and diversification, provide pathways to finance and be the voice of the rural economy. RPG and its partners encompass the breadth, talent and entrepreneurship of rural businesses, and public policy.

Rural Policy Group is the home of the RED Talk - Rural Economic Development Talks on the issues of the day. The Talks are held every three weeks with a panel of expert speakers, then an open floor. We encourage participants to get involved. It's one third us; two thirds you. You can listen to past RED Talks and register for upcoming Talks on the dedicated RED Talk page.

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Our Commitment

Rural Policy Group delivers on five key commitments

Communications

We think differently – sitting between finance houses, big businesses and innovative micro and small rural businesses we are in a position to translate the jargon, to ensure that the vocabulary is right to the benefit of everyone.

Use and assess information wisely

We will be the expert voice of rural, we understand the incredibly diverse needs of not only agriculture and horticulture but also the wide range of thriving firms that are based in rural communities. Our team of support specialists will enable businesses to identify what is and what is not important.

Resolving any financial crisis and risks

From fiscal policy through to the national food strategy, we will be representing the needs of rural business.

Getting the business scenarios right

The RPG is here to meet the challenge of getting business right in a rural setting, ensuring access to the support you need and the recognition of financial contribution to the economy.

The Basics

Facilitating networks, support, translation of jargon and recognition.

Meet the Team

Mark lumsdon taylor

Mark Lumsdon-Taylor

Chair

Mark is a national leader in the finance, education and corporate landscape. Schooled at Gresham’s Norfolk, and studying Law and Economics at the University of Keele, he was appointed to a training contract for a top 20 chartered accountancy practise in London. Leading audit, assurance and recovery work in fields from financial services through to telecommunications he qualified with ICEAW.

For the next 16 years he delivered the agenda of transforming a bankrupt public sector college into a corporate business. Changing Hadlow College into the Hadlow Group, he redefined engagement with 1000s of businesses, leverage major investment and enabled nearly 70,000 students to be educated with economic and social regeneration in East Kent.

Mark has won numerous awards for his work including National Finance Director of the year 2007, Accounting for sustainability National award 2012 (ICEAW), National Business Finance Director 2014 (Finance Director) and the Institute of Directors (IOD) blue ribbon award for Governance and Finance excellence in 2018. He is also an ambassador for Kent and unique in that he has both private and public sector experience.

Sarah calcutt

Sarah Calcutt

Vice-chair & Founding Partner PiP Ltd

Sarah is a 6th generation farmer from the Weald of Kent. Originally trained as a classical musician she had returned to the family business by her mid 20’s and has spent the subsequent 20 years working within the vibrant food and farming community of the UK.

In addition to running Partners in Produce Ltd, her successful business growth and communications consultancy, she is also the Operations Director of British Apples and Pears Ltd, Chair of the National Fruit show, SE Chair of the Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust and NED for Tech fresh produce start-up business COGZ.

Our Partners