Applications open on April 30th for community groups and charities to apply for grant funding of up to £50,000 from The Prince’s Countryside Fund, until June 14th 2018.
The fund is committed to supporting projects which will reinvigorate and sustain community networks, by providing services and amenities.
Volunteering in Shropshire’s community run Beckbury Shop which was supported by The Fund in 2017, “has been the best thing I’ve ever done – it’s given me a new sense of get up and go,” said local resident Inez. Having been housebound for several years following two operations, Inez now volunteers twice a week.
Claire Saunders, director of the fund, said: “This is a critical time for people and businesses in our rural areas, and we are seeking applicants for our grant programme who can help to ensure that their rural communities can thrive now and in the future.
“We want to hear from innovative and creative community led projects that are responding to local needs and would urge people to consider applying. Whether this is bringing new life to your village shop and pub, increasing access to rural employment and training, or bringing together farming communities, we would love to hear from you.”
Funding is also available for projects that will improve the prospects of viability for family farm businesses, for example by providing training or education schemes.
Jen Andrews from Newquay Community Orchard said: “Our grant from The Prince’s Countryside Fund has enabled us to do so much - we have helped to foster an interest in rural skills to bridge the ever-widening gap in the understanding of the care, attention and sheer effort that our food producers put into creating our food.
“We also wanted to inspire careers in the rural sector and have been training disengaged young people in practical outdoors and employability skills - we hope to see more young people getting into the rural sector, it has so much to offer.”
Organisations that directly support agriculture, such as The Farmer Network in Cumbria, are also eligible. The Farmer Network has run schemes to encourage young people to develop farming enterprises, through their Business Support For Young People programme, as well as providing ongoing assistance to farming families.
The fund’s grant giving helps to support a diverse range of projects, often delivered locally by grassroots organisations and community groups, and since the fund was set up by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2010 it has distributed more than £9 million to communities across the UK.
The fund is particularly keen to receive applications from Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
Grant applications can be made from April 30th to June 14th 2018.