Spotlight on: Our work in East Anglia

June 27, 2024

The Royal Countryside Fund (RCF) has been making strides in supporting agricultural initiatives across East Anglia, in particular in Norfolk and Suffolk. Through a variety of targeted programmes, the RCF is dedicated to empowering rural communities and encouraging economic resilience of farming businesses.

Last year, the RCF ran the Carbon Clarity initiative in Norfolk. This programme, aimed at promoting environmental sustainability, provided farmers with practical tools and knowledge to reduce their carbon footprints. Participating farms could potentially reduce emissions by up to 15% by implementing the recommended practices. 96% of participants reported that they were likely to speak to others about the need to reduce carbon on farms. 

Robert Scott, a Norfolk farmer who took part in the programme, shared, “The workshop was extremely helpful, and I think I have got a much better baseline understanding of carbon and how it impacts my business”.

Additionally, the Farm for the Future (FFTF) programme has been a cornerstone of The Royal Countryside Fund’s efforts in Norfolk. Delivered by the Norfolk Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), the FFTF programme offers free business and environmental skills training to local farmers. Since its inception, FFTF has equipped farmers with essential skills to navigate the agricultural transition. 

Farmer George Jeffery operates a small, family-run farm. As a young farmer from a non-farming background, he joined the Farm for the Future (FFTF) programme and the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project (DHFP) for affordable advice and support, leading to his successful entry into a stewardship scheme with grants for fencing and water troughs.

Similarly, Farmer Nicola Chapman emphasised the accessibility of the programme, stating, “While it’s a very big and complicated subject, it was broken down really well. I had no idea that small changes could make such a difference.” 

With a focus on powering up rural communities, the RCF’s impact in East Anglia extends beyond farming programmes. One notable community project is the Stoke Ferry Community Enterprise Ltd. Awarded £12,400 for essential pub renovation works, the project transformed a 200-year-old pub into a community hub and café. Jim McNeill from Stoke Ferry Community Enterprise Ltd noted, “Communications with The RCF have been excellent, and we highly recommend them. Thanks to this support, we have provided work experiences and currently employ ten individuals.”

Another rural initiative supported by the RCF is the North Norfolk Community Transport service. The RCF contributed £20,000 to their Dial-A-Ride service, which helps residents access essential services and shops. Jane Bishop, from the North Norfolk Community Transport, shared, “Without the funding from the RCF, we would have had to cut these services. The £20,000 we received meant that we could continue our services for the entire year as we had hoped to.”

The Royal Countryside Fund’s efforts in East Anglia, particularly through partnerships with local organisations like Norfolk FWAG, highlight the charity’s dedication to supporting rural communities. By providing comprehensive training and resources, the RCF ensures that farming businesses are not only sustainable but also economically resilient. These initiatives are part of The Royal Countryside Fund’s broader mission to foster a thriving countryside that benefits everyone.

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