“We must do all we can to ensure our vital youth service can continue”
Warwickshire Young Farmer Clubs walked, cycled and more in a bid to raise vital funds for pandemic-hit YFC activities.
Warwickshire Federation of Young Farmers didn’t escape the financial impact of the pandemic, reporting a major shortfall in funds and fearing a struggle to deliver its rural youth services.
The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) estimates that its 46 County Federations have collectively lost nearly £700,000 in income since the onset of the pandemic and the total loss for the organisation now stands at around £1m.
Ailish Ross, Warwickshire YFC Finance and Organisation Chairman said:
“Young Farmers’ Clubs are incredibly important in rural communities – helping young people make social connections, learn new skills and support their local area.
“Lockdown restrictions forced clubs to stop physical club meetings and competitions – a situation that has not happened since the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001.
“Young people in rural areas have the added difficulties of accessing real social networks, education, transport and services compared with those who live in towns and cities and therefore, in some cases, these issues can lead to a feeling of rural isolation or social exclusion.
“The Commission for Rural Communities identified those as the main causes of rural isolation. Whilst WFYFC cannot eliminate all of these problems, Young Farmers' Clubs do provide high quality social, educational and emotional development of rural young people.
“With the cuts to rural youth work and service provision there is a need to ensure that YFC members have access to information and support if they are facing difficulties which may lead to mental health issues.“
A national programme of fundraising started this April with the ‘Give it Some YFC Welly Relay’, where young farmers club members travelled the distance between the clubs in their county and passed a virtual welly on to the next county federation.
Warwickshire’s young farmer clubs between them had to cover at least 103 miles on foot, bike, horse or anything without an engine, during the week starting 12th April.
Warwickshire’s young farmers smashed the target and completed 687.39km/427.12 miles during the week. Members scaled Snowdon, the Malvern Hills and met as groups of six to obtain their miles, along with other activities.
Coleshill YFC made it to the top of the distance leader board with 113 miles; followed by Wormleighton YFC (106 miles) and Brandon and Wolston YFC (98 miles).
Ms Ross said: “We must do all we can to ensure our vital youth service can continue.”
There are nine young farmers’ clubs in Warwickshire with approximately 300 members in total, aged between 10 and 26 years. In a normal year, clubs would hold weekly meetings and take part in a wide variety of activities.
So far the groups have raised £275 towards their target of £1,500. Visit their crowdfunding page or email email@example.com to make a donation.
Our nearest YFC groups include:
Brandon and Wolston