Last night (3rd November), The Prince’s Countryside Fund (PCF) brought together members of its Farm Support Group Initiative at the House of Lords. Baroness Kate Rock hosted the gathering to promote the success of their involvement in our recent Farm for the Future programme and to launch the accompanying evaluation report.
Keith Halstead, Executive Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund, said, “It was fantastic to be able to bring together the farm support groups who have been so instrumental to the success of our Farm for the Future programme. In just six months, we managed to support over 880 farming families to improve their business and environmental knowledge, with an incredible 95% reporting that they feel more confident in their ability to plan for the future as a result of taking part. The programme is also creating a legacy of local networks, helping to tackle the problem of isolation in our countryside.”
Farm for the Future is the PCF’s free programme of support providing business and environment training and one-to-one support to farmers across England, delivered by Farm Support Groups in fifteen areas and virtually. Funded by Defra, the programme helps farmers tackle the ongoing challenges and grasp the new opportunities on offer linked to the agricultural transition. The programme is now open for farmers to sign up across England via the PCF website: www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk/farmforthefuture.
The PCF is proud to work with farm support groups across the UK, raising funds centrally, which we then invest in these groups to allow them to increase their activity and recognise their importance as trusted local delivery partners – in 2022 alone, the PCF has invested over £320,000 in 19 groups. As farmers continue to face challenging times, the need to support these vital local organisations is more crucial than ever.
At the event, Heather Hancock, Chair of the PCF, said, “The PCF is unable to get results, like those detailed in this report, without a lot of hard work. The farm support groups gathered here today build such trust and respect in their communities, and we couldn’t do what we do in supporting small family farms without you. Thank you for everything, and we can’t wait to work with you on this exciting and critically important next phase.”
Founded by HM King Charles III in 2010 while he was The Prince of Wales, The Prince’s Countryside Fund is the only UK-wide charity that empowers family farms and rural communities to ensure their future is made secure. Find out more about the PCF’s work with Farm Support Groups, read the report, and register for Farm for the Future at www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk.
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