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February 28 2015 Latest news:
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The Prince's Countryside Fund has given out 35 grants to rural projects, but how has the money been used so far? Abigail Price finds out.
We all want our little corner of the countryside to bebreathtakingly beautiful and well-cared for. But the real cost of the upkeep for natures garden is expensive. And thats where Prince Charles stepped in to give it attention, famous for his love of the great outdoors and supporting Britains rural communities.
In July 2010, he launched the Princes Countryside Fund, which raises money from businesses that want to improve the long-term viability of the British countryside and its rural communities.
Since then, 35 grants have been given out, pouring money in to projects which deliver the three objectives of the fund: to improve the sustainability of British farming and rural communities; to reconnect consumers with countryside issues; and to support farming crisis charities through a dedicated emergency funding stream.
In its first year, the fund raised well over 1 million and much of this has been dished out to projects throughout the UK, including Bell View, a day care centre for older people in Belford, Northumberland. They were awarded 18,000 which will be used to buy a specialist wheelchair accessible vehicle.
An estimated 1,000 beneficiaries included an apprentice scheme to train the next generation of hill farmers, a project to help young farmers find rural employment, and computer training for isolated communities.
Victoria Elms, programme manager for the Princes Countryside Fund, said: The fund supports large and small projects in rural communities and tries to reconnect people to the countryside.
So, how have the organisers of the projects spent the grants and who has benefited?
The Clervaux Trust in Yorkshire was given given a grant of 45,500. The educational charity works with young people to develop their skills and experience in growing and harvesting, animal husbandry and land based craft skills.
The money has been spent on hiring an apprentice and purchasing a farm truck and trailer which has meant the development of a local vegetable box scheme, run by volunteers. By the end of the project, accredited training in land skills, horticulture and agriculture will have been delivered to 60 students.
Rick McCordall, the commercial manager, said: How we have spent the money can be roughly divided like this: 4,000 on animal husbandry, 3,900 on land and development, including staff, 2,500 on a new apprentice, 4,000 on 29 sheep, 5,000 on a pick-up truck and trailer and 3,000 on overheads.
The pick-up truck in particular has been a huge help to us and there is so much more that we want to do with the remaining money. We also intend to get out into the community and attend more local events and extend the numbers of people who access the project, including students.
Miss Elms added: We are delighted with how The Clervaux Trust is progressing and furthering the aims of the Princes Countryside Fund.
For more information on the Princes CountrysideFund, visitwww.princes countrysidefund.org.uk.