New grants announced to support rural communities

August 9, 2017

The Prince’s Countryside Fund is delighted to announce that it is awarding over £540,000 of grants to 18 vital new projects in rural communities throughout the UK.

The Fund, established by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2010, has given over £8.5 million in grants to improve the prospects of family farm businesses and the quality of rural life over the past seven years.

New projects include funding to support the future generation of farmers and farm managers with grants going to Bishop Burton College, Myerscough College and the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs. Development Manager at Bishop Burton College said: “The Farm Management Development Programme, now in its third year, thanks to the generous support of The Prince’s Countryside Fund, offers young people working in the agricultural industry a chance to learn the vital management skills needed to run a profitable farming business. Designed by farmers and delivered with industry experts, the course provides a platform not only to up-skill tomorrow’s managers, but also a way to inspire young people, and highlight that they are key in shaping the future of farming.”

Assistance in building networks of support for farming communities in Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales, Upper Teesdale and Cornwall has been provided, as well as support for developing digital skills in upland areas of Dartmoor and Exmoor. Kate Doodson, joint CEO of Cosmic said: “We are delighted to be providing digital support and mentoring for farmers in our most rural locations of Dartmoor and Exmoor. Through our awarded grant, we will be able to transform farmers’ lives, enabling them to better understand the benefits of digital.”

Grants have also been awarded to the National Sheep Association and the Uplands Alliance in order to research the sustainability and resilience of family farms. Phil Stocker, Chief Executive of the National Sheep Association said: “The grant from The Prince’s Countryside Fund will enable progress of an important industry initiative to promote the wide diversity of sheep meat in the UK. The work should also help in the survival of four of our most valuable farming assets – the genepool of our 60 or so native sheep breeds, as well as the traditional farming systems, landscapes and communities which produce them.

Support for rural communities has been provided through funding for community shops in Crowle, Beckbury, Trawden and Great Paxton. Funding has also been awarded to Pub is the Hub, and the Bird in Bush pub in Northumberland National Park. The Fund would like to thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their support towards the community shop projects in Crowle, Beckbury and Great Paxton, and the Bird in Bush pub.

The Fund has also awarded grants for training projects in Suffolk and Cornwall, and to support the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue.

Claire Saunders, Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said: “We are thrilled to be able to support so many farming initiatives in this round of funding, alongside the support we offer to rural community based projects. Our recent report, Who’d be a farmer today?, highlighted the disconnect that the general public has with farmers and the UK’s rural areas, and our grant programme is providing essential support during what is an uncertain time for people living and working in the countryside.

Grants have been awarded to the following projects:

Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services £30,000
The Farmer Network £34,241
Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs £29,850
FarmCornwall £49,235
Cosmic £48,312
National Sheep Association £14,700
Uplands Alliance £13,800
Myerscough College 349,520
Bishop Burton College £24,000
Seckford Foundation £30,567
Urban Biodiversity £25,000
Crowle Community Hub and Shop £29,750
Bird in Bush £25,635
Beckbury Community Shop £24,574.95
Great Paxton Community Village Shop £19,870
Pub is the Hub £50,000
Trawden Forest £7,000
Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue £13,428