Creating a brighter, greener future through the Grassroots Challenge

YFCU president James Speers, YFCU deputy president Zita Blair, Ulster Wildlife Project officer and YFCU member enjoy team bonding and chat by the campfire
YFCU president James Speers, YFCU deputy president Zita Blair, Ulster Wildlife Project officer and YFCU member enjoy team bonding and chat by the campfire

Five members of Young Farmers Clubs’ of Ulster, including president James Speers and deputy president Zita Blair, battled their way through the rain to join Ulster Wildlife’s Grassroots Challenge project officers at Ardaluin House for the first Grassroots Young Farmer’s Residential.

The group was joined by Belfast activity centre leaders who gave the Young Farmers a chance to showcase their skills in a range of teambuilding competitive activities, typical of a club night.

YFCU president James Speers, YFCU deputy president Zita Blair with member Sarah Dorman from Spa YFC

YFCU president James Speers, YFCU deputy president Zita Blair with member Sarah Dorman from Spa YFC

Once the activities were completed and the group had got to know each other, it was time to get kitted up, brave the rain and put the group bonds to the test by taking it in turns to climb two of Ardaluin’s tallest trees, while the other group members where responsible for safety.

After all members had conquered new heights, they built a campfire and engaged in discussions on how the environment and farming can benefit each other.

The next morning the group brainstormed ideas on how to enhance the Grassroots Challenge Project.

All members contributed ideas, including offering more practical training for farmers on practices such as hedge laying to prepare for possible post Brexit scenarios, and encouraging more clubs to take advantage of opportunities such as gaining bronze eco-club accreditation as part of a scheme run by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

Sarah Dorman from Spa YFC shared her experience of how enjoyable and easy the eco-club process was and how the club could receive up to £300 to fund a wild idea as part of the Grassroots Challenge.

All members had a go at coming up with an eco-code and ideas for their own

clubs.

Thanks to everyone who gave up their time to attend the residential; the YFCU look forward to seeing these ideas propelled forward and continuing to work in partnership with YFCU in the future.

For more information on how your club can take up the Grassroots Challenge funded by the Big Lottery Fund, visit www.ulsterwildlife.org.