The Royal Countryside Fund launches ambitious new strategy to support farming and rural communities across the UK

April 26, 2024

The Royal Countryside Fund, founded by His Majesty King Charles III in 2010 when The Prince of Wales, has launched an significant new strategy intending to raise £15m over the next four years.

This funding will accelerate the RCF’s scale and reach as an operational, delivery-focused charity by increasing and diversifying its quality programmes of support to reach even more rural communities and farm businesses. 

Across the United Kingdom, rural communities and farming families are living with immense uncertainty and complexity in their lives amid the relentless pace and scale of economic, climate and societal change.  70% of land in the UK is under the stewardship of farmers, and one fifth of the population live in rural communities. 

Working together, The Royal Countryside Fund is aimed at helping those who look after the countryside to secure its future, and theirs. Through our tried and tested programmes of practical support and grants, our aim is to “power-up, not prop up”, enabling profitable family farm businesses and thriving rural communities to contribute to a diverse rural sector, delivering productive agriculture that is in harmony with nature, and a vibrant rural society underpinned by a strong local economy. 

The strategy describes an ambitious growth plan, expanding and replicating our model for supporting family farms and rural communities county by county, while tailoring advice to local circumstances.  In tandem, we will develop our rural community programmes on that same convening model, aiming to help build confident self-help networks which will survive and thrive beyond our specific intervention, and with a particular focus on the next generation and innovative, repeatable solutions.  

Keith Halstead, Executive Director of The Royal Countryside Fund, expressed enthusiasm for the new direction: “Our strategic ambition for 2024 to 2028 is to become the countryside charity of choice for people living and working in rural and farming communities across the UK, and for those who care about helping them achieve a sustainable future. Our vision is of a thriving countryside – a living landscape of working family farms and prosperous rural life, built on connections and relationships – which in turn shapes rural places, creating vibrant, secure and sustainable communities. Over the next four years we want to accelerate our scale and reach as an operational, delivery-focused charity to help ever more family farms and rural communities to secure their futures.” 

Highlights of the new strategy include: 

  • Supporting a further 2,000 family farms, of which 85% will feel confident, connected and sustainable because of their engagement with the RCF 
  • Developed and be working with a total network of more than 6,000 farm businesses. 
  • Consolidated its relationship with farm support groups through a new model of support. 
  • Invested a further £3m in rural community projects across the UK through a new grants programme. 
  • Developed and be working with a network of over 500 rural, locally-led community organisations across the UK. 

To read more about our strategy, click here.

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