HRH The Prince of Wales and The Prince’s Countryside Fund celebrate Rural Support’s 20th anniversary

March 24, 2022

On 22nd March we joined our Patron, HRH The Prince of Wales at a celebration for Rural Support’s 20th anniversary.

Rural Support first opened its door in March 2002 on the back of the foot and mouth crisis, providing much needed support to farmers and their families who were coming through an unprecedented crisis on their farms as a result of the disease.

In the 20 years since, Rural Support has grown significantly and evolved its programmes and services to meet the needs and demands of the agri-sector. However, the farmer and the farming family remain at the heart of its work and mission.

His Royal Highness met with Keith Halstead, Executive Director at the PCF and was introduced to Ross Beattie, Johnathan Heaney, Mitchell Park and Jessica Crawford. These young farmers participating in the Farm Resilience Programme were able to discuss with Prince Charles how access to free business and environmental skills training was helping the future of their business. 

HRH also met beneficiaries of our grant making programme – Ruth Montgomery from Rural Housing NI and Majella Gollogly from the Farming Health Partnership, who have both benefitted from PCF grant funding in recent years. They had the opportunity to tell Prince Charles about the impact their projects were making on rural areas.

A recent evaluation of the Farm Resilience Programme concluded that for every £1 invested in the programme farmers saw £3 of return, and 75% felt more confident in the future of their farm business as a result of participating.

Gemma Daly, current Chairperson of the Rural Support board commented, “We are just delighted to have been able to welcome The Prince of Wales to this special Rural Support event today celebrating 20 years of supporting the farming community. It was an honour to display our work and for our teams to meet HRH and provide a small flavour of what the organisation does on a day and daily basis in Northern Ireland.”