Prince’s fund awards £400,000 to rural projects

A charity founded by Prince Charles has awarded £400,000 to 12 farming and rural projects that help people in the countryside.

The latest round of grants from the Prince’s Countryside Fund (PCF) aim to help community-led projects that benefit people living and working in rural areas.

Those projects include the Exmoor Hill Farming Network, which works to improve the viability, efficiency and sustainability of upland farms.

See also: Defra makes £40m available for farm grants

In the north of England, the not-for-profit Farmer Network is helping 1,000 farmers sustain their businesses and maintain the environment, landscape and local rural communities.

Active in the Lake District, Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales, its services include a group fuel buying scheme and an initiative to develop young farmers’ skills.

In the Peak District, the Farming Life Centre has also received funding as it seeks to improve the quality of life of members of the local hill farming community.

Funding has been awarded to support the salary of two farm business officers who will provide an important outreach service to farm businesses in the region.

Meanwhile, Brecknock Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs has been awarded funding for a three-year project to provide opportunities in agriculture for 180 youngsters.

Rural challenges

Fund director Claire Saunders said: “The applications we received for this round of funding demonstrate the breadth of challenges faced by those living in rural areas.”

Organisations which had applied for funding had shown creativity in working together and coming up with the solutions to solve rural challenges, she added.

The funded projects would make a real difference to rural communities, said Ms Saunders.

The PCF awards grants twice a year to local, grass-roots organisations, and since 2010 has distributed more than £9m in funding.

Its mission is to help ensure a vibrant rural economy with a thriving and resilient farming sector at its heart, and its grant programme is a major focus of activity to achieve this.

The fund will next open for grant applications from 30 April to 14 June. More details can be found on the Prince’s Countryside Fund’s website.