Hard hit rural communities across the UK are being given a helping hand by countryside charity, The Prince’s Countryside Fund, who have announced £670,000 of vital grant support for rural initiatives.
The Fund, established in 2010 by HRH The Prince of Wales, has announced that it will be supporting 19 projects across the UK through its grant giving programme which has awarded over £1 million to projects in the North West since 2010. The Prince’s Countryside Fund, which aims to improve the prospects of family farm businesses and the quality of rural life, believes more is needed to be done to help those affected.
New projects include grants to build the resilience of the communities affected by last winter’s devastating floods including £27,475 funding for the Farming Community Network and £25,000 to support the Patterdale Parish Community Flood Group. A grant of £49,250 to the Farmer Network to develop eight “Grassroots Innovation Clubs” in Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales. Myerscough College has been awarded a grant of £30,600 to help 120 students with gaining qualifications and certificates by supporting a training voucher scheme.
Lord Curry of Kirkharle, chairman of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said “We are delighted to be able to support such a wide range of innovative projects that will provide a lasting legacy in so many rural areas. The next five years are critical for our rural communities and against a background of growing uncertainty, our grant programme provides essential support to people living and working in the countryside.
“Rural communities need to be prioritised. It is easy to forget just how much we depend on rural businesses and family farms. With an ageing rural population and a shortage of new entrants embarking on rural careers, it is vital that we continue to support grassroots initiatives to ensure we maintain a thriving and sustainable future for our rural communities.”
Veronica Waller, project manager, Farmer Network said “We want to develop an innovative method of engaging farmers in knowledge transfer by using farmers’ own knowledge to help other farmers develop their technical and business skills. We will help farmers support each other with group meetings based on sharing information and using local farm data. At a time when there is a lot of uncertainty about the future of farm support, we hope this project will help farmers make their businesses more resilient to change.”