The launch of The Royal Countryside Fund’s 2023 Journal

November 9, 2023

On Tuesday evening, we were delighted to welcome guests to the stunning Napoleon Cellar at Berry Bros. & Rudd, wine and spirit merchants and a partner of the RCF, for the launch of the 2023 RCF Journal – our annual publication that shares the passions of the charity and the people who we positively support.

[L-R] Keith Halstead, Executive Director of the RCF, Adam Holden, Director to the Chairs Office at Berry Bros. & Rudd, Heather Hancock, Chair of Trustees for the RCF, Demelza Fish-Jenkins, farmer, Phil Vickery, Ambassador for the RCF, Nick Corke, Hour Community.

With friends and supporters of the RCF together in this exclusive setting, Heather Hancock, Chair of Trustees, welcomed guests, noting a significant and celebratory year for the charity with the King’s coronation leading to a change in our name, alongside some fantastic results driven by the core work of the charity. 

Heather Hancock speaking.

Adam Holden, Director to the Chair’s Office at Berry Bros. & Rudd addressed the guests, speaking of the importance of supporting farming and rural communities, and the history of the King’s Ginger liqueur. He highlighted key attributes of the partnership; from getting to know farmers directly, visiting farms, and donating profits from the King’s Ginger to the Royal Countryside Fund. 

Adam Holden speaking to guests.

With people at the heart of what the RCF does, Heather Hancock then introduced two beneficiaries. Nick Corke who runs Hour Community, a community support project in Suffolk, and Demelza Fish-Jenkins who, together with her family, runs a farm in Wales. 

Hour Community provides support to the most vulnerable people living in Framlingham and the surrounding villages, through community transport to medical appointments, a mental health drop in café (the Worry Tree Café), a dementia friendly luncheon club, a befriending service and a help in the home service. Speaking to Heather, Nick noted how the demand for the charity’s services has “snowballed” since it was founded in 2011 and how he firmly believes in the power of local action by local people. Alongside four members of staff, Hour Community relies on the energy and skills of around 40 volunteers – all recruited from the area. “We have so many wonderful volunteers – without doubt, this strengthens the community” he said.  

Nick Corke in conversation with Heather Hancock.

Demelza and her husband Gwilym run a sheep and beef farm in Tregaron with both of their teenage children taking a keen interest in the business. They took part in last year’s Farm Resilience Programme. The RCF’s Farm Resilience Programme offers free business skills training to family farmers across the UK and takes a whole-farm and whole-family approach. 

Demelza Fish-Jenkins talking about her experience with Heather Hancock.

Demelza touchingly spoke of going through a tough time as a family and how she heard about the programme from a friend and described the support of the RCF as being a ‘lifeline’. Talking about the programme, she said: “I would say taking part in the Farm Resilience Programme has been totally lifechanging for us. This is most positive we have felt about our farming business for several years, thanks to taking part in the Farm Resilience Programme.” 

Keith Halstead, Executive Director of the RCF spoke to everyone in attendance about those who live and work in the countryside being firmly at the centre of the RCF’s work, and how the RCF Journal brings to life some of the amazing stories from the remarkable people who the charity supports. 

Guests enjoying drinks and canapes at Berry Bros. & Rudd.

The evening closed with a prize draw hosted by Phil Vickery, former English rugby union player and ambassador for the RCF, which was kindly supported by our partners: Halcyon Days, Berry Bros. & Rudd, The Goring, Fortnum & Mason, Le Chameau, Barbour and Bendicks all very kindly contributed amazing prizes and an incredible £1,800 was raised to support more rural communities and farming families. 

Keith Halstead and Phil Vickery announcing the prize draw winners.

We would like to thank everyone who attended and those who continue to support the work of the RCF, and a special mention to all those who have contributed to the 2023 edition of RCF Journal. 

Become a Friend of the Countryside today and you can receive an e-copy of our Journal and see how your support is helping to build a real future for rural Britain.

Sign up here