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Rugby Town Centre to host new global poverty innovation headquarters

15.09.2018 News

An organisation which innovates for solutions to the world’s toughest problems and helps millions of people unleash their potential across the world every year will move to Rugby town centre next week.

Practical Action will relocate its entire UK Head Office to the Robbins Building in Albert Street from September 24, returning to the town after a 20 year absence.

The development charity will occupy the two upper floors of the building. The bottom floor will house the organisation’s publishing arm, which produces a range of books and journals covering a variety of international development topics.

A total of 111 staff will move to its new base from its current location at The Schumacher Centre in Bourton-on-Dunsmore, between Rugby and Leamington Spa.

The move will reduce the organisation’s carbon footprint, making it easier for staff to travel to work using public transport and allowing it to operate more efficiently.

Practical Action has been located in The Schumacher Centre, locally known as Bourton Hall, since 1998. The building was officially opened by the charity’s patron HRH The Prince of Wales in 1999.

The organisation was established in 1966 and later moved to offices in Myson House on Railway Terrace, Rugby in 1984. Bourton Hall was later purchased as an opportunity to showcase technology which could be used in the developing world.

During its time in Bourton-on-Dunsmore, Practical Action changed its name from The Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) and opened offices in West Africa, Bolivia, Malawi and Rwanda.

Practical Action’s CEO Paul Smith Lomas said: “We have loved our time at The Schumacher Centre, but we are very excited about our move to Rugby which has been in the pipeline for a while now.

“Bourton Hall is a beautiful building in a fantastic location, but it is costly to heat and maintain and difficult to get to without using your own transport. As with many other organisations we are moving towards a more agile, flexible way of working and the new offices will allow us to be greener, so we are more in line with the philosophy of Practical Action.

“We can’t wait to move in to our new home and we hope it will bring some welcome new investment and business opportunities to the town.”

The town centre location, closer to road and rail links will enable Practical Action to recruit more easily and allow staff to travel and network more effectively around the UK.

Practical Action is a global innovator, inspiring people to discover and adopt ingenious, practical ways to free themselves from poverty and disadvantage. Alongside its publishing and consulting staff, it works with people in countries across Africa, South East Asia and Latin America to help them lift themselves out of poverty.

The organisation’s work focuses on bringing modern, renewable energy to some of the one billion people living without it, improving outputs for millions of small-holder farmers, helping vulnerable communities better prepare for, and cope with, natural disasters and improving water, sanitation and waste management in urban slums and remote rural communities.

To find out more about how Practical Action helps millions of people, or how you can join them or support their work follow them on TwitterInstagramFacebook or LinkedIn or visit the website at

Practical Action in figures:

  • More than 100 staff employed in the UK
  • More than 500 staff employed globally
  • Offices located in Bangladesh, Bolivia, India, Malawi, Nepal, Peru, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, Zimbabwe
  • In 2016/17 Practical Action:
  • Helped 1.2million people gain access to clean, modern energy
  • Enabled 1 million people improve their livelihoods
  • Supported 334,000 people in reducing their vulnerability to natural disasters
  • Helped 234,000 people access clean water, sanitation and waste services
  • Raised £33.2m, of which 90p of every pound is spent directly on its charitable activities around the world.

For more information please contact Andrew Heath on 01926 634552.