Rural businesses in Warwickshire are being urged to take part in the first large-scale survey in the county to determine the impact of COVID-19 in the sector. Rural business support organisations are targeting around 1,300 businesses, with the aim of feeding the results of the survey back to the Government to help determine future funding and help for the sector. Diversification, investment, innovation and skills are among the topics included in the COVID-19 survey and the responses will also feed into the delivery of the Council’s new economic strategy which identifies support for the rural economy as one of its priorities, as well as plans to support the economic recovery in the county.
Furthermore, over £700,000 has been donated to rural charities that are currently working on reaching out to isolated and vulnerable rural families. The cancellation of fundraising events has meant that many rural charities are facing a funding gap, impacting their ability to provide key services. To ensure support continues, the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust has donated to several countryside-based organisations including the Farming Community Network, Forage Aid, the Prince’s Countryside Fund and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I). The Prince’s Countryside Fund is helping finance a new Rural Hardship Support Fund which will provide regular food parcels and assistance with some critical household expenses. Support will be targeted at people living in isolated rural communities, particularly farmers and workers in agriculture, horticulture, forestry and countryside services.
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