Charity begins at home

No one seems to have told the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) that charity begins at home.

Ahoghill YFC
Ahoghill YFC

As a charity in their own right, the YFCU have donated an amazing £1 million to other charities over the last six years.

From jumping out of planes, tractor runs, sponsored walks to even cycles the list of fundraising events is endless.

The headquarters organisation with the help of their clubs raised almost £34k for NI Air Ambulance and £29k for Fields of Life in recent years but it is the 52 clubs who every year donate amounts from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds that make the real difference.

Straid YFC

This kind of commitment to local charities and the communities they live and work in sums up Young Farmers’ Clubs.

Zita McNaugher, YFCU president, explained: “This year is different in that as a charity reliant on raising much of our own income to support government funding in an environment where we can’t meet together is difficult but that hasn’t stopped inventive clubs already coming up with ideas to raise money virtually while picking up on a wide range of activities to support their communities. So, what does the ‘new normal’ look like for Northern Ireland’s biggest rural youth organisation?

“The decision to cancel barbecues and other traditional fundraising events over the summer will have an impact on not only Young Farmers’ Clubs but also the charities they fundraise for.

“Young farmers across the country raise thousands of pounds to support their own club activities and Covid-19 restrictions mean that these fundraisers will not happen. Its unfortunate but member safety is paramount at this time.”

Collone YFC

For some of the smaller clubs this could potentially be a death knell.

Zita McNaugher commented: “Celebrating our 90th anniversary this year and sitting as the largest rural youth organisation in Northern Ireland, the 3,000 plus members play a crucial part in rural areas, tackling isolation, exclusion while staying true to its traditional values of personal development, education and training, encouragement and development of the individual.

“Our members are busy at the moment working with foodbanks, deliveries for schools, chemists and others who need help, opening club halls for ‘new’ purposes like the warehousing of fruit and veg, befriending, counselling and always being open to ideas and suggestions.

“During these uncertain times it is important to remember that YFCU is a voluntary organisation and a charity in its own right and our work would not be possible without the support of rural communities and businesses. Many businesses have stuck with us even though we can’t do everything we hope to do and we would like to say thank you.”

Collone YFC
Hillhall YFC
Moneymore YFC
Straid YFC