The Prince's Countryside Fund to support rural projects in Kent
PUBLISHED: 16:11 10 August 2014 | UPDATED: 16:11 10 August 2014
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How grants to support a sustainable rural community through education and training will change lives
The Prince’s Countryside Fund will be investing more than £600,000 in rural projects working to protect and sustain the British countryside.
The announcement came during National Countryside Week (14-20 July), the PCF’s annual awareness campaign to celebrate the British countryside and the people who live and work in rural areas.
The Prince’s Countryside Fund, which has contributed £4.4m in grants in the four years since its inception, was set up by HRH The Prince of Wales. Its aim is to provide support to the multitude of remarkable organisations and individuals working tirelessly to keep farmers farming and our rural communities alive.
What makes the Fund unique is that it doesn’t support the environment, buildings or wildlife but rather the people who manage and maintain the countryside.
£50,000 to Growing Rural Enterprise will help between 40-60 rural businesses to start, develop and grow. It will help farmers who are struggling to be sustainable by looking at their existing resources and exploring new ways of working.
£49,788 will support 54 rural communities set up new community owned services that meet local needs. The Plunkett Foundation will promote community ownership as a solution for rural communities that have lost or are at risk of losing vital local services.
£50,000 to Duchy College, a nationally renowned specialist land-based College, will engage and train over 1,300 young people in activities designed to progress them into local sustainable jobs within the food and farming industry.
Helen Aldis, manager at The Prince’s Countryside Fund, says: “These grants will help maintain and support a sustainable farming and rural community in Britain through the provision of vital education and training. This will not only equip young people will the skills required to succeed in rural careers, but also provide existing farmers and rural businesses with much-needed financial and business support to remain viable and grow.
“The countryside faces many challenges; 60,000 new entrants are needed in the UK farming industry in the next decade, 40 per cent of the total food consumed in Britain is imported and the proportion is rising.
“But with the help of our marvellous supporting companies, we are able to back the people, organisations and communities working to protect and ensure a long term future for British farming, agriculture and the wider rural economy.”
Since 2010, The Prince’s Countryside Fund has given grants to support 140 rural communities by improving service provision, 3,400 farm businesses through funding projects that work directly with farmers to improve efficiency and profitability and 880 rural enterprises through supporting innovative rural business projects.
And 4,380 young people have benefited from projects offering training opportunities, while 18,000 children will be educated in food and farming in a sustainable countryside. n