The Royal Countryside Fund champions mental health and sustainability at annual Farm Support Groups Conference

March 28, 2024

The Royal Countryside Fund (RCF) held its annual Farm Support Groups Conference on 20th – 21st March 2024, hosted by Aldi UK at its Head Office in Atherstone with the theme "Growing Together".

The event brought 46 delegates from farm support groups from across the UK together to discuss important issues such as environmental sustainability, mental health and outreach to new farming audiences. Over the course of the two days, attendees engaged in a series of workshops, presentations, and panel discussions. 

The conference featured an impressive line-up of organisations and speakers dedicated to supporting family farms through the agricultural transition. Key contributions came from Emma Adams of Farm Carbon Toolkit and Anna Jones of Just Farmers, alongside vital insights from Emily Jones and Sam Stable of We Are Farming Minds, Matthew Morris from the Duchy of Cornwall, Steph Brimacombe of VCCP and Charlotte Weston from EY 

Keith Halstead, Executive Director of The Royal Countryside Fund, expressed gratitude for the event’s success, stating:Given the uncertainty which many family farms currently face, this year’s conference has enabled farm support groups to come together, learn from one another, and discuss solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing farmers today. I am most grateful for the continuing support of Aldi, whose commitment to The Royal Countryside Fund has made this event possible.” 

In addition to hosting this year’s Farm Support Group Conference, Aldi UK has so far contributed £745,000 to The Royal Countryside Fund. This includes sponsoring initiatives such as the RCF’s Farm Resilience Programme.  

As the partnership progresses into the next phase (2024-2027), The Royal Countryside Fund is pleased to announce that Aldi UK will continue its support with a further £270,000 over three years, reinforcing its commitment to the prosperity and resilience of British farming. The continuation of this partnership marks a significant milestone, as with this generous commitment, Aldi UK is set to surpass £1million of total funding for The Royal Countryside Fund. 

Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi UK, said: “Aldi is proud to stand beside The Royal Countryside Fund and support its vital efforts to champion the UK’s farming community. Our continued support and funding reflect our commitment not just to the agricultural sector, but to fostering resilient and sustainable communities across the nation. We are excited to continue our partnership to empower and uplift farmers.” 

Since its inception in 2019, The Royal Countryside Fund’s Farm Support Group Initiative has empowered over 50 remarkable organisations to enhance collaboration, knowledge sharing, and best practices. With monthly seminars and extensive training opportunities, these groups have grown more sustainable, adeptly navigating the increasing demands of their work. Our thanks go to Aldi UK, NFU Mutual, and Waitrose & Partners for their vital support and to our wider community of supporters.

To learn more about our Farm Support Groups Initiative, please click here.