CCRI’s visiting professor in European Rural Development, Michael Dower, has been keeping himself busy, undertaking various roles for local groups and organisations, and working on rural development projects, since he moved from Cheltenham to Beaminster in Dorset in 2012.
Professor Dower, who is a former Director General of the Countyside Commission (now Natural England), currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Southern Dorset Local Action Group, which has a €2 million budget under the LEADER programme to support local enterprises and community initiatives in the county. He sits on the Rural Enterprise Group of the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership; and is also active locally as coordinator of the Beaminster Area ECO Group, focused on promoting environmental care and sustainability in West Dorset. He is a Patron, and active supporter, of the campaign for creation of a Dorset National Park, which would embrace the current Dorset AONB and the Jurassic Coast, which has World Heritage status.
Although Professor Dower retired in December 2016 from his full-time work as Coordinator of the PREPARE Partnership for Rural Europe and as Joint Coordinator of the European Rural Parliament, he played a leading role at the 3rd European Rural Parliament held at Venhorst in the Netherlands in October 2017, as drafter of the Venhorst Declaration. He played a similar role at the 1st Balkan Rural Parliament held in Serbia in June 2018, and is adviser to the European LEADER Association for Rural Development in its active campaigning for a wider role for LEADER and Community Led Local Development in the future Structural Programmes of the European Union.
Michael can be contacted at email@example.com