Rural Youth Europe top post for Moneyrea’s Linzi Stewart

Linzi Stewart from Moneyrea YFC is pictured five from left with her Rural Youth Europe colleagues at a rally in England in 2019Linzi Stewart from Moneyrea YFC is pictured five from left with her Rural Youth Europe colleagues at a rally in England in 2019
Linzi Stewart from Moneyrea YFC is pictured five from left with her Rural Youth Europe colleagues at a rally in England in 2019
Moneyrea YFC’s Linzi Stewart has been has been elected as the chairperson of Rural Youth Europe via their first ever Online General Assembly.

Speaking to Farming Life about her appointment Linzi said: “I am delighted to have been elected to the position of chair of the Rural Youth Europe board at our first ever online General Assembly, held via Zoom on Friday 6th November 2020.

“Having been a member of Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster for over 12 years and holding positions including club leader and secretary of Moneyrea YFC, chair and secretary of Co Down Young Farmers’ Clubs and sitting on the YFCU executive committee, I welcomed the challenge to represent the UK and Ireland on the board of Rural Youth Europe in 2017. I was then honoured to be elected as vice chair at the General Assembly 2018 held in Bridge of Earn, Scotland.”

Linzi added: “Rural Youth Europe (RYEurope) is a European Non-Governmental Organisation for rural youth. Established in 1957, it functions as an umbrella for youth organisations working to promote and activate young people in the countryside. It provides international training possibilities and works as an intermediary between national organisations, youth organisations and public institutions on a European level. Rural Youth Europe is a member-led organisation: democratically constituted and led by young people for young people.

“Rural Youth Europe has allowed me to pursue my passions for rural youth, volunteering and travelling and has taken me to many different countries including the Czech Republic, Norway, Belgium and Russia. The last three years on the board have been incredibly rewarding although, of course, there have been many steep learning curves along the way. Together we have explored issues facing rural young people such as rural employment, lack of infrastructure, isolation, mental well-being and have encouraged rural youth to be an active member of society, speaking up and being catalysts for change.”

Reflecting on the challenges ahead Linzi remarked: “There have been many challenges, not least navigating the uncharted waters that 2020 has brought so far, yet I welcome the opportunity to continue the works started and lead the organisation towards a bigger, brighter and stronger future.

“There are many exciting plans in the pipeline and I believe that Rural Youth Europe can, and will, emerge stronger from this global pandemic. The need to be relevant, for change, for recognising and celebrating all aspects of rural life for young people has never been so great.

“There is no greater time than now to promote rural development, encourage and enable youth participation and facilitate the building of key relationships. Now, more than ever, we need to raise the voice for rural young people across Europe and build upon key competences while ensuring sustainability and positive mental and physical well-being. Rural Youth Europe is an incredible organisation which creates a safe place for rural youth to learn, grow and make lifelong friends and I am incredibly passionate about ensuring Rural Youth Europe not only maintains the great work it does, but continues to grow and develop in this ever changing climate.”

Concluding Linzi said: “On a personal level I am incredibly grateful for the support and opportunities afforded to me so far and for the endless support and encouragement from my own organisation, Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster, who have been behind me throughout my time on the Rural Youth Europe board.

“It’s a privilege to hold the position of Chairperson of Rural Youth Europe following in the footsteps of many great YFCU members to have been on the RYEurope board including:

“Hannah Kirkpatrick, YFCU current vice president (Rural Youth board member 2018-19) 

“Dr Geoff Thompson BEM, past YFCU vice president (special interests board member 2016-2018), Barbara Blair BEM (board member 2009 – 2011) and past RYEurope chairs from YFCU, Linda Steele (chair of RYEurope 2002-2004) and Robin Swann, MLA current Health Minister (chair of RYEurope 2008-10).”

To find out more about Rural Youth Europe you can visit their website at ( or find them on Facebook and Instagram or reach. Linzi also recommends listening to the podcast, Rural Voices (

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