Tuesday, 30 July 2013 09:27

Prince's rural fund unveils new grants

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Prince's rural fund unveils new grants

PRINCE Charles has unveiled a further £560,000 in grants from the Prince's Countryside Fund.

The fund supports projects that tackle the key issues which negatively impact on rural Britain.

In doing so, it strives to secure a sustainable future for British agriculture and the wider rural economy.

Some £3.3m has now been issued by the Prince's Countryside Fund in three years to over 75 projects, helping 52,000 people.

The new grants will provide training to improve job prospects for unemployed rural young people, as well as aiming to help farmers and halt the decline of rural communities.

They include £48,3777 granted to Farm Cornwall will provide farm crisis support and debt management services to 200 struggling family farms in West Cornwall.

Some £49,968 will fund and train 10 Upland Farming Apprentices in the North Yorkshire Moors, benefiting 18 hard-hit upland farms and preserving both farms and the local landscape.

In East Anglia, £14,676 will enable Kickstart Norfolk to purchase 10 mopeds and five scooters to help 20 rurally isolated people get into work, training or education.

The number of people farming in Britain has declined 26% over the past twenty years and 10% of those remaining farming households are returning a negative income.

Fund director Victoria Harris said some 60,000 new entrants were needed in the farming industry in the next decade to ensure its future sustainability.

In addition, rural communities were facing serious problems of isolation as pubs, post offices and village shops are closing down and services such as local bus routes are being cut.

Ms Harris said: "We are so delighted to have given away over £3.3 million in our first three years thanks to our supporting companies who have committed to securing the future of the countryside.

"We have already benefited 126 rural communities by improving service provision and 2,345 farm businesses through funding projects that work directly with farmers to improve efficiency."

The fund hoped the latest grants would go some way to ensuring the sustainability of farming and rural communities and would make a real positive impact on many lives.

Last year was devastating for many within the farming industry, with catastrophic weather leaving many families with crop shortages and little feed for livestock.

Ms Harris said: "Many of the projects we're also funding are to address low farming incomes and give farmers a better footing so they can avoid financial hardship in future."

Full details of the grants can be found here.

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