National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

NFYFC Chairman's Message to YFCs 

These are unprecedented times. The impact of a global pandemic is now a reality in our daily lives and activities.

It is with a heavy heart that following the Government’s advice on 16 March 2020, we are asking all YFCs and counties to close for at least the next 12 weeks. Full details here.

Your YFC should now be cancelling all its forthcoming meetings and events. These actions are to help slow down the spread of COVID-19 and to keep our members safe. We are each responsible for helping to get this virus under control and the YFC community must play its part in this too.

YFCs have not faced a mass closure on this scale since the Foot and Mouth epidemic in 2001. We are all too aware of the impact YFC closures have – not only on the finances of clubs and counties but also on the mental wellbeing of our members who rely on those weekly club meetings and events to socialise. You can find more support here if these world events are affecting your mental wellbeing.

We have had to make tough decisions about our Competitions programme with many competitions being cancelled or postponed. See the updated guidance on this here.

We are also postponing the Annual General Meeting that was being hosted on 26 April to later in the year (a new date will be determined as soon as the situation improves and restrictions are lifted).

There may also be changes to the June Council meeting and other NFYFC events, which you can read about it in full on our Coronavirus update page.

As of today (17 March 2020), NFYFC’s staff will all be working from home but you will still be able to email and call the team in the usual way. 

The Government’s restrictions will be a challenge for us all and I urge YFC members to remain in contact with each other through calls or messages on social media. Isolation is already a massive issue in rural communities so we must be creative in the ways we work to combat this while we are unable to gather in our club meetings.

 How can YFCs help?

There’s even more that YFCs can do to help during this crisis. I have already seen YFCs supporting their rural communities and setting up initiatives, showing a true YFC spirit. But we need to do even more now to support our local farmers as well as residents to get through this tough time. 

We are asking YFCs to support their rural and farming communities in the following ways through a #YFCRuralSupport initiative:

Please take every precaution to ensure you are spreading only kindness. Avoid physical contact (2m distance). Wash your hands regularly and dry them well. Items should be left on doorsteps.

1. Local food for local people

Work with local producers (farm shops, farmers, local shops and small producers) to find out if you can help distribute emergency food parcels to those in self-isolation or those who are finding it difficult to find what they need in the shops at the moment.

2. Make contact

Organise leaflet drops (so you can reach those most vulnerable who may not be online) to let people know your YFC is able to support by fetching shopping, picking up prescriptions, walking the dog or just popping round to check on someone who lives alone.

3. Social communities

Use your online knowledge to set up a WhatsApp or Facebook (or similar) group for your local community so people can  provide requests for help. It’s a great way for everyone to feel connected if self-isolation is imposed. Always offer support for those that are not familiar with online platforms and only share accurate information from official sources.

4. Support for farmers

Remember that many farms will be feeling the effects of the crisis too. YFCs can be a source of help in both practical and support situations, as well as spreading positive messages about local food production and availability.  Seasonal labour will also be in short supply and YFC members can contact HOPS to help with picking and packing fruit and vegetables in your local area. There are paid positions available. See more information on how to apply here.

Now is the time for YFCs to show we are kind, considerate citizens by helping our local communities. We will have to sacrifice much of what we usually enjoy to protect not only ourselves but also millions of others.   

The YFC community – and indeed the world – has a challenging few months ahead. We will all be together again soon and I look forward to celebrating with you all when we are past this crisis.

NFYFC will still be providing updates on social media and through email communications. Please share your YFC’s stories of #YFCRuralSupport with us during this time (tag @NFYFC on social media or email media@nfyfc.org.uk) so we can share them more widely.

In the meantime, stay strong, stay safe and please stay in touch.

Dewi Parry
NFYFC Chairman of Council 2020-21 

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