King's charity issues £450k in funding to help rural and farming projects

The charity has provided a funding boost amid challenging times for UK’s rural communities
The charity has provided a funding boost amid challenging times for UK’s rural communities

The Royal Countryside Fund, founded by the King, has announced a donation of nearly £450,000 to support rural and farming initiatives across the UK.

The funding will support those living and working in the countryside, many of whom are facing increasing challenges such as rising costs, extreme weather and isolation.

The King's charity, who founded it when he was Prince of Wales, said the grants would help enable change and develop resilience in the UK's rural areas.

One group to receive funding is the Rural Health Partnership, based in County Down, which was awarded nearly £25,000 to provide skills training and support to women in farming.

Knoydart Farm CIC, based in the Highland, was also given the same amount to help establish a community farm to address the issues of food insecurity.

Three farming charities; RSABI in Scotland, Rural Support in Northern Ireland and Tir Dewi in Wales, have each received £15,000 towards the running of their organisations.

And this year, £25,000 has been awarded to seven farm support groups, to cover core costs and ensure organisations are able to continue to deliver vital services to farmers with their specific project delivery.

Those being awarded these grants are Exmoor Hill Farming Network, Herefordshire Rural Hub, The Farmer Network Ltd, The Farming Life Centre, Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services Ltd (UTASS), Farm Cornwall and Dartmoor Hill Farm Project.

Keith Halstead, executive director of the Fund said: “We operate exclusively in rural areas and work hand-in-hand with individuals, small farms, community groups and partner organisations to change lives by investing in projects."

The charity's ‘Supporting Rural Communities’ grant programme is supported by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery and Waitrose & Partners.

The People’s Postcode Lottery awarded the Royal Countryside Fund £2.28m of grant funding over the past six years.

Which other groups have received funding?

This winter, numerous rural organisations across the UK have been awarded a share of over £185,000:

• Blackhall Mill Community Association, Tyne & Wear – awarded £23,000 to develop a scalable model of their community Electric Vehicle club.

• Broadwoodkelly Village Hall, Devon – awarded £9,317 to purchase equipment to underpin the delivery of the hall’s programme of activities, helping to reduce social isolation.

• Cockfield Village Group, Suffolk - awarded £4,650 to help the village group to take over their village store and post office, helping to prevent the closure of a vital village asset.

• New Mills and District Volunteer Centre, Derbyshire – awarded £25,000 for their service which enables elderly & disabled people in remote villages poorly served by public transport to access medical appointments & shops.

• North Arran Community Benefit Society Ltd, North Ayrshire – awarded £25,000 to support further regeneration of the community inn, enabling it to remain open throughout the year as a hub for the community.

• Shopper Aide Ltd, Argyll and Bute – awarded £23,478 for their project to support the local rural community with a range of services including shopping, transport, social groups, and befriending, helping to reduce social isolation.

• The Courthouse Kesh Ltd, Fermanagh – awarded £25,000 to enable the community hub to continue to provide much needed services including a drop-in café and outreach in the isolated rural area of North Fermanagh.