A land-based educational charity is close to a deal to buy one of Newton Rigg College’s farms, which it will maintain as a crucial rural learning centre for Cumbria.
The purchase of Low Beckside Farm for an undisclosed fee by The Ernest Cook Trust was announced in July and the final stages of the sale are almost complete.
See also: Plea for government to save Newton Rigg
The farm had a sale price of £1.725m when it was listed by Savills in May.
The trust plans to get more people learning from the land by operating the farm alongside training schemes, apprenticeships, demonstrations, educational visits, workshops, seminars and open days.
Newton Rigg, Cumbria’s last remaining agricultural college, closed in July.
The Ernest Cook Trust’s chief executive, Victoria Edwards, said: “I am very excited at the prospect of farming here at Low Beckside, which will be a first for The Ernest Cook Trust.
“We are landowners, with many tenant farmers, but here we will be farming ourselves for the first time and we’re looking forward to working with young people who are also starting out on their farming careers.
“Key to making a success of Low Beckside is understanding what the community needs, so we are looking forward to getting out, meeting and talking with people.”
Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, welcomed the trust’s impending purchase of the farm and said the charity had positive plans to help young people in Cumbria.
“I am delighted that Low Beckside has been secured by The Ernest Cook Trust and I look forward to working with them on this exciting project.
“This development is another lifeline in saving land-based education in Eden and Cumbria. I will continue to fight for our rural sector and for a future for land-based education in Cumbria.”