Prince’s Countryside Fund to help tackle rural isolation, declining skills and digital exclusion

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Over half a million pounds of rural funding announced by The Prince’s Countryside Fund to help tackle rural isolation, declining skills and digital exclusion.

£551,738 grant funding for the British countryside has been announced by leading rural charity, The Prince’s Countryside Fund. Twenty diverse rural projects across the UK will receive the crucial funding, empowering them to secure a bright future for the countryside, through training opportunities, support networks, counselling and new social enterprise projects.

“We received an overwhelming amount of applications for funding; testament to the ceaseless trials our rural communities face. Our recent research into the farming crisis revealed that a shocking 20% of all farmers are suffering from significant financial hardship and rural communities are still in recovery from the unforeseen catastrophe of the December floods.”

Claire Saunders, Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund

Established by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2010, The Prince’s Countryside Fund exists to improve the prospects of family farm businesses and the quality of rural life. To date, the charity has distributed over £6.7 million in grants and emergency funding directly benefiting more than 210,000 people who live and work in rural areas.

Across the UK, 20% of farm businesses are in significant financial difficulties, an average of 200 village shops close each year, one million people living in rural areas have no access to the internet and many communities continue to suffer in the aftermath of the winter floods.

Newly funded projects address a far-reaching spectrum of rural issues, from digital exclusion to declining countryside industries, rural vocations for the next generation and isolated rural communities.

Claire Saunders, Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said: “We received an overwhelming amount of applications for funding; testament to the ceaseless trials our rural communities face. Our recent research into the farming crisis revealed that a shocking 20% of all farmers are suffering from significant financial hardship and rural communities are still in recovery from the unforeseen catastrophe of the December floods.

“Rural infrastructure continues to be chipped away, with crippling consequences for isolated villages and towns, and investment in the futures of the next generation of rural entrepreneurs is barely there. We give grants to enable practical action on the ground, and we look forward to working with our inspiring new projects to achieve this.”

The full list of projects supported is:

* Penistone Young Farmers £18,612 for two years (Yorkshire and the Humber)

* Soil Association £25,000 (UK-wide)

* Duchy College £50,000 for two years (South West)

* Scottish Crofting Federation £20,732.32 (Scotland)

* Grimsby Institute for Further and Higher Education (GIFHE) £24,838 (East Midlands)

* Cosmic £48,263.29 (South West)

* Tinder Foundation £40,000 (East Midlands)

* FarmCornwall CIC £19,280 (South West)

* Growing Rural Enterprise Ltd £25,000

* Broads Reed & Sedge Cutters Association (Brasca)

* Devon Federation of Young Farmers Clubs £21,600 (South West)

* South Tynedale Railway Preservation Society £20,000 (North East)

* Marchington Community Shop £28,690.00 (East Midlands)

* Border Rambler Rural Transport Services CIC £1,078.00 (North West)

* Preseli Rural Transport Association Limited £30,000 (Wales)

* Bakewell and Eyam Community Transport £19,080 (East Midlands)

* Northern Fells Rural Community Development Group £45,000 (North West)

* Llandegla Community Shop Ltd £25,000 (Wales)

* ACTion with Communities in Cumbria £15,046 for three years (North West)

For more information on the projects please visit: http://www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk/