A 75-year legacy of supporting communities through challenging times was celebrated this week as a Cornish charity marked a milestone anniversary.

Staff, partners and beneficiaries of Cornwall Rural Community Charity (CRCC) gathered at Heartlands on Monday (Nov 7) to share experiences of supporting grass-roots organisations and the people behind them.

The charity was first established in 1946 as part of a network of community councils in post-war Britain to support local parishes, playing fields and community halls.

It went on to deliver many transformative projects in Cornwall, from community buses to generating £1 million for village hall improvements under the National Lottery’s millennium funds.

Now, CRCC employs 68 people and delivers a diverse portfolio of projects including Cornwall Carers Service, Clean Cornwall, Learn Your Way – an education and training provision for 16-24 year olds – and Fishing Animateur, a project that supports the fishing community nationally to access grant funding.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, celebrations for the 75th anniversary were postponed by a year. Around 60 staff, partners and past team members attended the lunchtime event, and were treated to a video featuring past chief executives and photographs from years gone by.

Katherine Nissen, chief executive, said: “It’s lovely to be able to get together and celebrate this wonderful charity, especially the people who have made things happen and the people we have helped. It’s a chance to make connections and refresh relationships as we look forward to supporting communities for many years to come.”

The charity’s patron, Lord Lieutenant Edward Bolitho, described CRCC as one of Cornwall’s hidden gems.

“It’s a charity that works for much of the time below the radar, but delivers a tremendous amount of work across a wide range of need.  It does vital work across Cornwall,” he said.

“CRCC copes with changes and challenges in our society, from post-wartime to the age of austerity and now the cost of living crisis. Through its close partnerships with other charities in Cornwall, CRCC will continue to be at the forefront of this work.”

CRCC’s interim chief executive, Tom Sneddon, presented the charity’s vision for the future, which involves focusing on communities of interest – activities and issues that bring people together and communities of place – geographical areas that seek support.

He said: “We have this paradox in Cornwall of great affluence sitting next to absolute poverty, separated by just one street.

“We are here to promote collaboration, inclusion and partnership working. We will be working to build on our rich legacy, take some risks and explore new ideas to support our communities.”