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Jan Thornton MBE – Vice Chair

Jan has been a community activist in the West Yorkshire village where she lives for over thirty years. She has been involved in the Voluntary Sector since first becoming a trustee of the rural community council for Yorkshire in its various iterations (now Community First Yorkshire) since 2005, of which she is currently Vice Chair.

She has been a trustee of ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) since 2009 and is currently Vice Chair, but retiring from the Board shortly.  Other previous VCS roles include Vice Chair of Involve Yorkshire & Humber (2010-16) and Chair, North East Regional Committee for Guinness Northern Counties Housing Association (2009-13).

She has been Vice Chair of the Yorkshire Food Farming & Rural Network (YFFRN) since 2016 and a member since its inception in 2012.  As part of her role within the YFFRN, she has represented rural interests on the European Structural & Investment Fund (ESIF) Committees nationally and locally in West Yorkshire and York, North Yorkshire and the East Riding, since 2014. She was an active member of DEFRA’s RDPE stakeholder group from 2018 – 2022. She currently sits on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund Local Partnership groups for both West and North Yorkshire and the North Yorkshire Food Strategy group. She was a member of the West Yorkshire Mayor’s Green Skills Task Force and represents ‘rural’ on the West Yorkshire Mayoral Authority’s Private Sector engagement group.

She has been a member of the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership Board since 2020 and is Deputy Chair of Grow Yorkshire.

She is passionate about all things rural and was awarded the MBE for Services to rural communities in Yorkshire in 2022.