Half a million pound boost for rural and farming communities from The Prince’s Countryside Fund

August 1, 2022

The Prince’s Countryside Fund (PCF) has invested £588,426 in 33 projects across the UK which are helping to create a real future for rural Britain.

The grants have been awarded as part of two funding streams – Supporting Rural Communities, sponsored by Waitrose and with support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery and funds awarded by the Postcode Support Trust and the Farm Support Group Initiative, sponsored by Waitrose and the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust. £258,000 is being awarded to 14 rural communities across the UK with grants of up to £25,000 over two years, while a further £329,920 is being given to 19 UK Farm Support Groups.

Founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2010, The Prince’s Countryside Fund’s vision is of family farms and rural communities that fulfil their role in creating a sustainable future for the countryside and our whole nation. Too often, rural communities are without access to transport, jobs, housing, shops and community spaces. We are a charity which powers community-led solutions through our grants and resources to ensure that they flourish – now and in the future.

Through our Rural Communities grants programme, we are supporting projects from the Western Isles, Scotland across to Northern Ireland and from Devon to Norfolk. Whether its ensuring village halls can fulfil their role as community hubs, to providing skills training to improve employment opportunities for young people, the community drive behind each project means that thousands of people will directly benefit from our support in a way that is meaningful to them and their communities.

Trossachs Community Trust, based in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, has been awarded £25,000 to support the provision of a community centre. Tim Tindle, Chair of board of trustees/directors said: “We are grateful for the support of The Prince’s Countryside Fund. The support means that we can transform a redundant school into a community visitor centre. The centre will offer subsidised meals to the elderly and be home to the community post office. This will create four full time jobs and is a big steppingstone towards making the community’s dream a reality.”

Farm Support Groups are local organisations and charities working across the UK, supporting people working in agriculture and rural communities. They help people with issues around health and wellbeing, provide business support to farmers, and promote sustainable, economic, social and community development. In 2019, the PCF created the Farm Support Group Initiative, to represent these organisations at a national level and to enable them to share best practice and advice. Having seen the invaluable contribution these groups make to their local farming communities, we are now making a further investment to ensure these groups can continue their vital work to support our British farmers to navigate their way through change and difficult circumstances.

Katherine Williams, EHFN Manager said: “This new grant support from PCF enables the Exmoor Hill Farming Network to continue to act as the go-to hub for the farming community on Exmoor, providing access to information, training and signposting as well as increasing our own staffing levels. As a grass root organisation we are led by farmers for farmers, assisting them with a wide range of agricultural related topics to improve the viability and sustainability of Exmoor farms. As the agricultural transition develops, EHFN will be instrumental in delivering the important messages with local advisors to ensure our farmed landscape plays a key component in sustaining future farms’’.

Keith Halstead, Executive Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said: “This significant investment is making a real difference to people’s lives and responds to the needs of farming and rural communities. Whether our funding is empowering community-led projects like Stoke Ferry Community Enterprise in Norfolk or meeting day-to-day running costs of farm support groups thereby ensuring family farms have access to practical, local help when they need it.

“The PCF wishes to acknowledge our appreciation of players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, Waitrose & Partners and the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust who are all long-term supporters of the PCF and whose funding contributes to our rural grant programmes and funding our Farm Support Group Initiative.”

Lisa Belletty, Health and Wellbeing Advisor at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “We are delighted that support from the players of People’s Postcode Lottery is enabling The Prince’s Countryside Fund to build a stronger future for rural Britain. This support will ensure rural communities across Britain don’t just survive, but more importantly thrive.”

“We are delighted that the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting The Prince’s Countryside Fund to help them create a real future for rural Britain. We are so grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery who enable us to support the PCF to build confident rural communities. It is fantastic to see how together we can ensure the that these communities don’t just survive, but more importantly thrive.”

Lindsey Crompton, Social Impact and Health Lead from Waitrose said: “Waitrose is extremely proud to be a founding corporate partner of The Prince’s Countryside Fund, and we’re excited to embark on this new phase of our partnership. The PCF has been the only UK-wide charity addressing issues facing rural Britain over the past decade, and we’re delighted to renew our support for a further three years.

“Inspiring happiness in communities is a central component of the John Lewis Partnership Purpose, and The Prince’s Countryside Fund’s rural grants programmes embody this mission. We very much look forward to seeing how these exciting, grassroots projects will develop and benefit the rural communities they serve with the aid of the Farm Support Grants and Happiness Grants.”

Jim McLaren, MBE, NFU Mutual Chairman, said: “Helping our members in times of need and supporting rural communities has always been at the very heart of NFU Mutual’s approach. We are committed to making a positive impact through our charitable giving programme and are very proud to be a long-standing supporter of The Prince’s Countryside Fund, and the valuable services they offer.”

Our Autumn funding round will be open for applications from Thursday 1st September until midday on Tuesday 11th October. Further information on how to apply and eligibility is available on here. If you’d like to talk to a member of the team about putting in an application, you can submit an enquiry via the form on this page.

Find out more about how we work with farm support groups here.