Sheep on flooded fields© Andrew McCaren/LNP/REX/Shutterstock

Volunteers working with flood-hit farmers are among those invited to apply for a share of £600,000 from the Prince’s Countryside Fund (PCF).

The fund, which aims to improve the prospects of family farm businesses and the quality of rural life across the UK, opened for applications on Monday (19 September).

Projects and organisations working with rural communities and seeking to develop stronger, more sustainable farm businesses, can apply for a grant of up to £50,000.

See also: Prince’s fund to help 1,500 vulnerable small farms

As part of its vital role in responding to countryside crises, the fund is also opening up specific funds to help support the winter flood recovery.

Applications are invited from organisations that are supporting farmers, rural businesses and communities following last year’s winter floods.

Severe storms

This includes communities hit by severe storms in December 2015 across Cumbria, Lancashire, Herefordshire, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Since being founded by the Prince of Wales in 2010, the fund has distributed more than £7m to 182 projects across the UK, helping more than 200,000 people.

PCF grants manager Clare Crookenden said this year had seen the fund release its greatest number of grants to date, with 21 projects funded.

“Since 2010 our grant programme has provided a vital boost to people and grassroots organisations who are working hard to protect and enhance the countryside.”

Supported projects ranged from initiatives inspiring young people to develop their skills and pursue a rural career to farm businesses which had been hit hard in recent years.

Grant programme

“Our grant programme has been made to available to help improve the lives of people living and working in the countryside.

“Community shops, libraries and pubs and the people that support them add vibrancy and strength to rural communities and we are committed to help.

“Action is needed to give rural communities the chance to provide the vital services that they rely on and to ensure all of us benefit from retaining a vibrant countryside.”

The closing date for applications is Thursday 13 October.

For full details, and eligibility criteria, visit the Prince’s Countryside Fund grant programme webpage.