Investing in the countryside

The Prince's Countryside Trust makes grants available to help rural communities

The Prince's Countryside Trust makes grants available to help rural communities - Credit: Archant

Exmoor farmers are among those who will benefit from a new round of funding by the Prince’s Countryside Fund

The Prince’s Countryside Fund, a charity which strives to secure a sustainable future for the British countryside and wider rural economy, has announced an investment of over £575,000 in 12 valuable rural projects across the UK.

Having already contributed £3.3million in grants in the three years since its inception, the latest round of funding from The Prince’s Countryside Fund is being allocated to projects and organisations which address five key issues facing rural Britain; low farming incomes, rural isolation, lack of access to training, decline of rural communities and disconnect with the countryside. Two of the projects receiving help are included here.

Victoria Elms, Manager at The Prince’s Countryside Fund, explains: “These grants will support the people, organisations and communities working tirelessly to preserve and ensure the long term sustainability of British farming, agriculture and the wider rural economy. With the help of our

admirable supporting companies, it’s a great achievement for The Prince’s Countryside Fund to be able to support so many excellent projects which collectively will benefit over 64,000 people

“The countryside is one our greatest assets, with 70% of our drinking water coming from the UK’s upland areas and 60% of the UK’s food being grown

domestically. In the next 50 years we will have to produce more food than we have in the last 10,000, and we hope that educating children in sustainable food and drink production, giving young people the skills and training needed to continue rural careers and investing in the viability of farm businesses will go a long way to achieving that.”

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Since 2010, The Prince’s Countryside Fund has given grants to support 127 rural communities by improving service provision, 3,006 farm businesses through funding projects that work directly with farmers to improve efficiency and profitability and 792 rural enterprises through supporting innovative rural business projects. A total of 2,492 young people have benefitted from projects offering training opportunities and 18,000 children will be educated in food and farming in a sustainable countryside.

Where the grants go:

North Devon+ (Addresses: Low Farming Incomes) £49,994

North Devon + is an economic development company supported by the public and private sectors; its aim is to regenerate communities and promote economic development in North Devon. The purpose of the project is to improve the viability and efficiency of Exmoor farming businesses through knowledge transfer, training and peer support groups. A project coordinator will organise a range of training and group support activities; these will be

practical sessions and on-farm visits and cover soil and grassland management, livestock health, business skills and environmental farming. 250 farmers will benefit, and there will be specific training events for 20 young people through the Next Generation programme and 40 women via the ‘Women in Farming’ group.

FACE (Addresses: Disconnect with the countryside) £150,000

The aim of FACE is to educate children and young people about food and farming in a sustainable countryside. It is a nationwide charity and 150 schools and 9,000 young people in areas of economic disadvantage will benefit.

The public can make a donation online at Virgin Giving, at the Post Office or by text. Text PCF to 70300 and a £3 donation will be made to The Prince’s Countryside Fund.

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