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The Prince's Countryside Fund offer new funding for rural enterprises

PUBLISHED: 14:47 12 May 2014 | UPDATED: 14:47 12 May 2014

Don't miss out on the chance to get vital funding for your rural community

Are you helping to improve service provision in a rural area? Do you support rural enterprise or farming businesses? Are you providing training opportunities for people in rural-based careers? Organisations and charities that are helping our farming and rural communities can apply for much-needed funding of up to £50,000 from The Prince’s Countryside Fund.

The Prince’s Countryside Fund, which strives to secure a sustainable future for the British countryside, is looking to invest up to £600,000 in worthwhile rural initiatives in this application round. To date, the charity has given more than £3.8m in grants in three years to over 85 projects across the country, directly benefiting more than 64,000 people.

Any organisation can apply, but you need to demonstrate that your project is tackling one of the following issues:

-Rural isolation

-Low farming incomes

-Decline of rural communities

-Lack of access to training

The UK rural economy provides employment for 5.5 million people and contributes £22bn to the UK through domestic food and drink production. The countryside is one of our greatest national assets, with 80 per cent of the UK’s land area being farmland. Seventy per cent of our drinking water comes from the UK’s upland areas and 60 per cent of the UK’s food and drink is produced domestically.

Despite this, the number of people farming in Britain has declined by 26 per cent over the past 20 years and 10 per cent of remaining farming households are returning a negative income. Upland farmers in some areas of the country earn as little as £6,000 or less, which is less than half the minimum wage, and the average age of a hill farmer in Cumbria is 58. It is estimated that 60,000 new entrants are needed in the farming industry in the next decade to ensure its future sustainability.

Victoria Elms, Manager of The Prince’s Countryside Fund, says; “There are many admirable people and organisations working tirelessly to support farm and rural businesses and communities, and we want to help those organisations to continue their valuable work. The projects we support make a real difference to the rural economy and the lives of those living and working within it, and ultimately will ensure the future of the British countryside and UK food and drink production. We 
look forward to welcoming many more applications.”

The Prince’s Countryside Fund has supported 127 rural communities by improving service provision; 3,006 farm businesses through funding projects that work directly with farmers to improve efficiency and profitability; 792 rural enterprises through supporting innovative rural business projects; 2,492 young people by supporting projects offering training opportunities; and educated 25,800 individuals in the value of the countryside.


To find out more, or to apply for funding, go to www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk

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