Bridgette Baker: In lockdown, your YFC needs your support

Admit it – if you’re a girl who lives for a YFC ball then you’ve probably had that sparkly dress ready and waiting for many months now.

Trying it on every so often and crying “It doesn’t fit anymore” one day, then “Phew, it still does” the next.

With lockdown forcing so many events to be cancelled, some young farmers have opted not to pay their membership fees.

In my home county of Somerset, for example, the federation says it has received 155 paid memberships since September 2020 – compared with the 800 or so it might have normally expected by this point in the YFC season.

It’s vital people pay up, though, if clubs are to survive and keep providing the many opportunities they traditionally have for social get-togethers, self-development and community activities.

See also: Farmers Weekly Awards 2020 – Young Farmer of the Year

An annual membership costs £40-£60 depending on your club and age. Even in the current situation, that still strikes me as good value.

Somerset YFC, meanwhile, has been working hard to ensure its future – receiving funding from the Rural Youth Project and Somerset Community Foundation to help it survive the Covid period, while funding first aid and mental health courses for members.

I joined my local club on my placement year at college when I was 18 and got involved with as much as I could – including charity bingo, social evenings, talks, trips and the Wessex Young Farmers rally.

I was often told “the more you put in, the more you get out” – and this is so true. I really can’t recommend it enough.

It’s been a rubbish year for everyone, but many clubs have seized lockdown as an opportunity to do things differently, whether that’s holding online meetings or virtual charity events, and they’re also busy thinking about events to make next year better than ever.

Rebecca Horsington, the county organiser of Somerset YFC, is right when she says we’re all in this together.

The lockdown exit plan is looking hopeful so it won’t be long until gatherings are possible.

Meanwhile, let’s all continue to support the YFC movement until that sparkly dress can be worn again. But then there’s the problem of heels…