Grants to support rural communities

A CHARITY established by Prince Charles has unveiled over £540,000 of grants to 18 new rural projects.

The Prince's Countryside Fund is supporting community shops in Crowle, Beckbury, Trawden and Great Paxton.

Funding has also been awarded to Pub is the Hub, and the Bird in Bush pub in Northumberland National Park.

Other grants include funding for training projects in Suffolk and Cornwall, and to support the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue.

Established by the Prince of Wales in 2010, the fund has given over £8.5 million in grants to improve the quality of rural life over the past seven years.

    See also: Prince's fund donates £670k to rural communities

Claire Saunders, Director of The Prince's Countryside Fund said: "We are thrilled to be able to support so many farming initiatives in this round of funding, alongside the support we offer to rural community based projects.

"Our recent report, Who'd be a farmer today?, highlighted the disconnect that the general public has with farmers and the UK's rural areas, and our grant programme is providing essential support during what is an uncertain time for people living and working in the countryside."

New projects include funding to support the future generation of farmers and farm managers with grants going to Bishop Burton College, Myerscough College and the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs. 

Bishop Burton's farm management development programme offers young people a chance to learn the management skills needed to run a profitable farming business.

Development manager Rhonda Thompson said: "The course provides a platform not only to up-skill tomorrow's managers, but also a way to inspire young people, and highlight that they are key in shaping the future of farming."

The fund is also supporting farming communities in Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales, Upper Teesdale and Cornwall – as well as developing digital skills in upland Dartmoor and Exmoor.

Kate Doodson, joint CEO of Cosmic said: "Through our awarded grant, we will be able to transform farmers' lives, enabling them to better understand the benefits of digital."

Grants have also been awarded to the National Sheep Association and the Uplands Alliance in order to research the sustainability and resilience of family farms.

National Sheep Association chief executive Phil Stocker said: "The grant from The Prince's Countryside Fund will enable progress of an important industry initiative to promote the wide diversity of sheep meat in the UK.

"The work should also help in the survival of four of our most valuable farming assets – the genepool of our 60 or so native sheep breeds, as well as the traditional farming systems, landscapes and communities which produce them."

A full list of beneficiaries is available here.


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