To celebrate the third annual National Young Farmers’ Week, we invited Katie Sanderson from Elwick and District YFC to tell us abour her involvement with the Countryside Challenge. As part of the National Youth Social Action Fund, The Countryside Challenge encourages young farmers to support their local rural communities.
We would like to thank Katie for taking to time to write this blog and sharing with us the amazing work of her Young Farmers’ Club.
The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work alongside the Pears Foundation and the Cabinet Office to offer Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) funding for working with their community. All of our 619 YFCs were invited to apply for £400 to help towards a Countryside Challenge project that they wanted to deliver in their local rural community.
I was extremely fortunate to apply and have a successful funding application with my club Elwick and District YFC, in County Durham. Elwick is a very small club in both County Durham and within the national Federation, with only 16 members and up to eight people regularly attending meetings due to college and university.
As our club is based in the small village of Elwick, where there are a lot of older people, we wanted to do something to support our local community.
When I saw NFYFC promoting the Countryside Challenge and the chance to gain funding for your plans, I mentioned it to the club who thought it was a great opportunity for us and the community of Elwick.
We knew that Elwick village wanted to host an event to celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday so the club felt this was a perfect event for us to be involved with as well. We decided to use the grant to do a village ‘clean-up’ in preparation for the event and did a lot of planning with the local villagers. The funding we received from the Countryside Challenge pot paid for tools and equipment that we needed to do a village litter pick, paint stones around the village green, clean benches and put up bunting and decorations for the event.
The challenge really brought the club together as we used our club meetings to carry out our activities including planning what we would be doing, carrying out risk assessments, buying the tools and equipment then evaluating our project.
Members brought their skills to the project, sharing their ideas and completing a very successful village clean-up operation, ready for the members of Elwick village to host their celebrations for the Queen’s 90th Birthday.
Without the funding we would not have been able to carry out our project. We found it highly rewarding completing the project as we created a fantastic link with our local community and we look forward to working with them again and being involved with future village events.
I was the main organiser of our project and brought YFC closer together with the community. When completing the evaluation forms we got 100% positive feedback from the village as well as lovely comments while we carried out the different tasks. This was a fantastic feeling knowing our hard work had been recognised and in a positive way, making me feel very proud of what I had managed to organise with our club and what we did.
I was honoured to be such a major part of this project and seeing it being a success was hugely rewarding. As a club we are so very grateful to the Pears Foundation and the Cabinet Office for joining with NFYFC to provide this funding for clubs, allowing members to develop their skills, their community links and their club.