National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

31 March 2020

It’s barely been six months since Jessica Preece, a member of Princes Risborough YFC in Buckinghamshire, qualified as a nurse and now she’s helping to support the nation through a pandemic.

Long shifts, sleepless nights and isolating from family are all taking their toll but Jessica says she is proud to be part of the NHS. We spoke to 24-year-old Jessica about what it’s like being a nurse during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Q. How long have you been working as a nurse?

I am a palliative care nurse in a local hospice where I have worked since September 2019. I was a healthcare assistant for four years before that. My older sisters and  my mother all work for the NHS and it became my calling too. I love helping people and making them smile. There is a lot of job satisfaction when you have a positive impact on a patient’s day – especially when they feel they have nothing to be positive about. 

Q. What is your working day like at the moment?

My average day is 12.5 hours, with one hour for breaks. Days vary from being steady to crazy busy with admissions, discharges, deaths and patients rapidly deteriorating. On average I look after up to four patients but this can rise to five if we’re busy and short staffed.

Q. How does it feel to be effectively on the frontline during this crisis?

It’s a very scary and uncertain time to be a nurse, let alone only qualifying six months ago. Being newly qualified there is always a lot to learn, so, trying to do this while there’s a national and international crisis, is very scary. Recently I’ve been having trouble sleeping on my days off because of anxiety about what I’m going to face when I get back to the ward.

Q. How do you feel about the developing situation?

Obviously it’s a scary time for everyone right now, but most people are isolating at home. As key workers we can’t do this. We have no option but to face this virus and continue our daily jobs and care for our patients. While everywhere else has shut down, we’ve opened our doors wider in the hospitals to try and make as much room as we can for when poorly patients come in.

I’m very concerned about the situation getting worse as all you hear on social media and the news is how there’s not enough ICU beds, equipment or PPE (personal protective equipment). However, the Trust where I work is doing absolutely everything they can to keep staff safe.  We’ve had rapid training, daily Covid-19 updates and are emailed the most up-to-date resources. I’m petrified of what’s to come, but still have to carry on with my work because there will always be patients that need caring for.

Q. Are you isolating at home?

I live with my parents but if the situation gets worse I may have to move into hospital accommodation to protect their health and also as I need to continue to work.

I’m finding it hard to stay isolated, as my job is very challenging mentally, so being told that you have to stay in the house and stay with the same people for longer periods of time is proving to be a big challenge.

I am also not allowed to see my Nan and Grandad because of their health conditions – even though they only live a few houses away. I normally see them on my days off, so this has been one of the hardest things that I have done. I know in the long run it will be worth it.

Q. Has your YFC been supporting you?

I haven’t been able to go to a club meeting since starting my job due to my work/family commitments. However, I know they are always there to support me if I ever needed them. There is a wide variety of support from the club, advisory, county and friends that I have made from my time there that I’m still in regular contact with.

Q. Have you managed to stay connected to your YFC?

Our club did a zoom chat last week, where many members connected via the video call. I unfortunately was working so couldn’t take part. I think its so important that we all regularly check in with each other during this time, as I’m concerned the crisis is going to have a massive impact on people’s mental health.

Q.How did you feel about the national applause last week for the NHS?  

I felt such a surge of pride and it did make me very tearful. I was on shift that day and did not finish until 8pm. However, I did watch the videos that people had made of the applause happening. Myself and my colleagues were all moved by this act from the nation, however we are only doing our jobs.

Q. Are any skills you have picked up with YFC helping you in your role right now?

Some key skills I have gained are leadership, communication and organisation. The main one is definitely teamwork – YFC helps you adapt to be around a wide variety of people from all different backgrounds, age groups and careers. This has helped me in my job because I work as part of such a diverse team and have to work effectively to provide our patients with the best care and treatment possible.

Q. What would be your advice to YFC members about how they can stay safe? 

Stay safe, stay at home (unless you’re a key worker) and regularly check in with friends and family that you do not live with. Only leave the house when its absolutely necessary, wash your hands, clean all surfaces that you may touch (door handles, car steering wheel, mobile phones etc). Also make sure the elderly and vulnerable near to you are safe. Offer to do their shopping, walk their dogs etc.

The Government have not put this lockdown in place because they want to do it; they have done it for the safety of our country. Stay safe everyone.

If you are working during the Coronavirus outbreak and would like to profile what you are doing, please email NFYFC.


30 March 2020

One energetic junior YFC member has completed a marathon for charity while being stuck in isolation.

Hope, who at 12 years old is the youngest member of Dartmouth YFC, completed 845 laps around her garden in five hours and 42 minutes. The challenge helped her to raise £250 for Cancer Research, which she says was in memory of her Grandad and also for her uncle Patrick who is currently in remission.

Hope had been wondering what to do with all the spare time she now had since the schools closed due to Coronavirus and felt her love of running could be put to positive use.

“I ran it over three afternoons, after I had finished my school work. I didn’t find it too difficult, because I’m used to long distance running. However the last 20 laps I started to feel my legs really hurting,” said Hope. “I really loved doing this! Although my garden gets boring after 350 laps.”

Hope recommends setting challenges while everyone is in isolation and she’s currently enjoying being part of the YFC Isolation Bake Off as well as club activities. Dartmouth YFC is hosting a weekly quiz and having a daily group chat.

Hope has also been busy keeping fit with Joe Wicks on his YouTube channel and says she is already planning more personal fitness challenges. “I might do Mount Everest up the stairs next!”

Tell NFYFC what fun activities you or your YFC have been doing in isolation?



26 March 2020

NFYFC is supporting a new Farming Help helpline that has been launched to support the Farming Community during the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Farming Help Charities – Addington Fund, Farming Community Network (FCN), Forage Aid, Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I), and RSABI, supported by The Prince's Countryside Fund - are working together to deliver this service. As well as NFYFC, the initiative is also in conjunction with The National Farmers’ Union, and the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust.

This could be an anxious time for many farmers and farming families and periods of poor health or self-isolation may result in temporary practical difficulties on farm.

Using the Farming Help helpline (operated by FCN) and respective organisations/volunteer networks, the following local support is available. Get in touch on 03000 111 999 if you:

  • Feel concerned or anxious and would like to talk to someone who understands farming, will listen to you and help you think through your options
  • Would like help to draft a contingency plan to ensure you and your farm are prepared, should you be unable to work for a time.
  • If you or people you rely on become ill or are self-isolating and you need to find help locally- we will endeavour to find support for you in your local area. The helpline will source contact details of local organisations and groups who may be able to assist you in finding help to feed livestock, collect shopping or collect prescriptions if you are unable to do so. This directory will be revised and updated in the coming weeks and months.

County Federations have been asked to supply information about local community groups – including YFC initiatives – that are supporting vulnerable people during the crisis so they can be added to the directory.  

Call 03000 111 999 or visit www.farminghelp.co.uk for further support. 


25 March 2020

If you took part in any of the recent YFC Talks to Defra events, or if you didn’t manage to but are interested in the future Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELM), you may well want to join future webinars or share your views online.

An online discussion document sets out Defra’s initial thinking for ELM design, providing an update on progress and overview of high level design options. There are key questions in the document which Defra would like views and evidence on. This document is not intended to set out the detailed delivery arrangements for ELM. The responses received will help to inform the detailed scheme design policy for both the national pilot, which is due to start in late 2021, and for the start of the ELM scheme in 2024.

Defra aimed to hold a series of regional engagement events over the discussion period but due to Coronavirus, these events have been postponed.

In the meantime, Defra will be running interactive online webinars for farmers and land managers to discuss what proposals mean for you. Please note the dates and times of webinars and do logon if you can and make your views heard. The dates and times are as follows:

  • 2 April (Thurs): 19.00-20.30 7 April (Tues): 12.00-13.30
  • 15 April (Weds): 08.30-10.00
  • 20 April (Mon): 15.00-16.30
  • 29 April (Weds): 19.00-20.30

You can register through Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/defra-29903351381 and keep an eye on Defra’s Facebook page for further information.

Defra is encouraging people to respond to the policy discussion document through the Citizen Space website, by email or by writing. The discussion period will close on 5 May 2020.


17 March 2020

As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise in the UK, NFYFC Chairman Dewi Parry is asking YFCs to support their local rural and farming communities during the crisis through a #YFCRuralSupport initiative.

While clubs and counties have been advised not to hold club meetings for at least the next 12 weeks, YFCs can still help rural and farming communities by working with local food producers and coordinating support through online groups.

Seasonal labour for fruit and vegetable picking is in short supply at the moment due to travel restrictions and NFYFC’s seasonal labour provider HOPS is calling on YFC members to support local growers in their area.

The soft fruits industry will need labour from April onwards and YFC members can contact HOPS if they are able to offer their support during this period and positions will be paid. Find out more information here. 

It’s important to remain in contact with local farmers who are often isolated and could be struggling with staff shortages due to illness.  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. 

NFYFC Chairman Dewi Parry said: “YFCs are already launching amazing initiatives to support the older and more vulnerable people in their rural communities. We want more YFCs to do this and also to ensure that our farming sector gets the support it needs during this crisis too.

“YFC members can offer their support by encouraging people to buy local produce as well as supporting the farmers who are producing it. We are going to need more British people to help pick fruits and vegetables in the coming months and YFC members living in areas close to these farms could offer their services during this difficult time for the country – and indeed the world.”

YFC RURAL SUPPORT DURING COVID-19

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.

For more information about Covid-19 and the advice for YFCs, please see here. 





17 March 2020

NFYFC has advised all of its Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) to cancel club meetings and events for at least the next 12 weeks following guidance from the Government issued on 16 March 2020.

The information will affect 598 YFCs across England and Wales and 46 County Federations. All club and county meetings, activities and events have been halted while the UK attempts to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus.

The decision also impacts NFYFC’s Competitions programme and its national activities, including the Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was due to take place on 26 April 2020.

The AGM will be postponed to a date later in the year, which will be confirmed as soon as guidance on gatherings is updated by the Government.

The restrictions have also impacted the NFYFC Competitions programme. Many counties were already cancelling rallies and competition finals in light of the outbreak and NFYFC has now been forced to cancel or postpone a number of national competitions. See here for more details.

Other NFYFC events affected by the decision include the Business and Tenancy Training event in Berkshire with Savills this week and the Board of Management meeting in April. Both have been postponed and the Board will hold a video conference call instead.

The NFYFC’s Council meeting in June will be reviewed the week commencing 25 May and the decision will be based on the Government guidelines at the time.

NFYFC's YFC Travel programme has also been affected and all remaining homestay trips have been cancelled for 2020. Other YFC Travel trips are under review and will be dependent on travel restrictions at the time. 

NFYFC Chairman Dewi Parry said:

“It is with a heavy heart that NFYFC have had to advise all YFCs and counties to close for at least 12 weeks. We know how important club meetings are for those living in remote locations and we urge all our clubs to find ways online to remain in contact with each other.

“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.”

NFYFC has provided information about support groups for those who are struggling with the impact of isolation and concerns about the virus. For more detailed information about the announcements from NFYFC about the Coronavirus, please visit here. This website page will be regularly updated. 




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