National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

22 April 2020

Wearing a mask for an entire shift is making Britain’s key workers’ ears very sore. That’s why Alice, James and Emma Walmsley from Kent Estuary YFC decided to step in and start creating head bands to provide some relief for NHS workers. Emma Walmsley, 18, told us more about their mission.

Q. Why did you decide to make the headbands?

Originally I was asked to make some by a local lady whose sister works in hospitals and has been suffering from sore ears due to the masks rubbing against them. I thought it was a great idea so along with my sister Alice and brother James, we made over 100 headbands, which have been sent to a number of hospitals and care homes in the local area.

I usually run a café in Grange with my mum but I’m currently at home filling time. My younger sister Alice would usually be at school and James, 20, is a contractor, working long hours to get jobs done before silage time.

Q. Have all of you used a sewing machine before?

None of us had ever used a sewing machine before but we picked the skill up quite quickly and made over 50 in a night. However, we did all learn from a young age how to sew using a needle and thread. We have also all been able to knit and are well-known for our crafting skills in the local area. 

Q. Did you follow a pattern or make it up yourselves?

We had seen a pattern and used that idea. We made one which didn’t work as well as we hoped, so we altered the pattern to make the finished product as best as we could.

Q. How are you distributing them?

We have connections as I babysit for a few people that work in hospitals so I have passed some on to them.  As we live in a small town, everyone knows each other and the word soon got around that we were making them, so I had a few people contact us for them as well.

Q. How many have you made so far?

We have made well over 100 head bands and about 50 mini knitted straps for the back of your heads, which you also hook buttons onto. All the ones we have made have now gone out to hospitals and are all in use. If we are asked to make more, we will be more than happy to make some.

Q. How does it feel to be supporting the NHS at the moment?

It feels an honour to support the NHS, knowing how hard the job is as I have friends that work for the NHS. I’m so glad we have been able to help them in some small way. I’m hoping this will all pass over soon as they all deserve a well earned break!

Q. Would you encourage other clubs to do something similar?

It would be amazing for other clubs to help as we can’t supply enough headbands for each hospital. It’s such an easy pattern to pick up and learn it takes no time what so ever to make one. It’s a time killer as well as it’s filled so much boredom of an evening for us all.

Q. Are you able to share the pattern?

Use 15cm by 50cm piece of material (we have used old t-shirts). Fold it over, stitch the edging, turn them inside out and stitch the ends together to make a hoop. Finally add a button to each side of the band, half way around so the masks can hook onto them.

 

 Q. Are you managing to stay connected to your YFC at the moment and if so, how?

We are all staying in touch with our YFC friends via text as much as possible. 

If you would like to be featured in a future profile, please contact media@nfyfc.org.uk



21 April 2020

A YFC Area, including a Showstopper Cake tent, will be hosted by The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) at the first ever Greatest Online Agricultural Show on 2 May, 2020. 

The show, which was the brainchild of farmer David Hill, is set to be a huge online event, held in place of the many agricultural shows that have had to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

NFYFC intends to host its YFC Isolation Challenge Finals during the ‘Show’, giving members of the public the opportunity to choose the winners from five finalists from each Isolation Challenge that has been held over the past few weeks.

Following on from the success of the YFC Isolation Bake Off – there will also be a Showstopper Challenge where members are encouraged to share their ‘best  bakes’ online to be judged by NFYFC President Charlotte Smith.

While plans are still being finalised for the day – YFC members are encouraged to get involved online and be part of the activities. 

NFYFC Chairman Dewi Parry said: “We are really excited to be part of the Greatest Online Agricultural Show and can’t wait to showcase YFCs to a wider audience. It’s a great day for your club to get online and promote what you do as well, using the relevant hashtags.

“NFYFC is coming up with some fun activities for everyone to do throughout the day to make everyone feel part of YFC at the event. We know members are really missing out on YFC competitions and rallies this year because we are in isolation – so we hope this event helps everyone to feel more connected.”

Follow the Greatest Online Agricultural Show on Facebook and Twitter pages. 


20 April 2020

Young Farmers’ Clubs across England and Wales have been supporting their local rural communities during the Covid-19 outbreak.

From delivering essential groceries and collecting prescriptions to walking dogs and checking in on the most vulnerable, YFCs have stepped up.

Shaftoe YFC in Northumberland started off with leaflet drops to let everyone know that they would be able to help and also joined forces with a Covid-19 volunteering group.

Club Secretary Amy Little said: “When the tighter restrictions came in, we could no longer work together in a group and had to provide individual support. I am currently looking after around five people by fetching groceries and prescriptions for them.”

The club is also organising a weekly FaceTime chat to keep all their members connected while in isolation.

Members from Newport YFC in Shropshire have also been busy delivering groceries in the local area and even delivered Easter cards to offer some festive cheer.

Club Secretary Sarah Phillips did an interview with BBC Radio Shropshire to promote their activities and told listeners that the club are eager to give something back to the community.

“We are picking up prescriptions or essentials. I picked up some Easter eggs for a family too, as their mother is vulnerable to the virus. We also handed out Easter cards that we had all made, so our local community all know we are thinking of them at this time.”

Members from Wragby YFC have supported a local food bank set up by a community group in their area while clubs in Montgomeryshire have also been rallying round their local communities. 

YFCs are also working hard to support their own members during the crisis with online challenges, virtual committee meetings and quizzes.

And fundraising support is also going strong with ‘at home’ events happening in Yorkshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire to raise money to support the health services.

What have you been doing with your YFC to support your rural community? Please contact media@nfyfc.org.uk to share your stories. 






20 April 2020

Events may be over for the time being but YFC members are proving where there’s technology, there’s still a way to enjoy some of those activities online.

YFCs are having virtual club meetings, setting social media challenges and hosting online quizzes just to keep members connected during these long days of isolation.

Some counties have gone one step forward and are hosting virtual rallies. With their popular event having to be cancelled due to Covid-19, Staffordshire found a way to host it in a new format – and one where members could participate from home.

There are 16 classes open to junior, intermediate and senior members including decorating a pair of wellies, a farm animal canvas and a photo of being stuck in the mud.

County Organiser Julia Taylor said: “It’s an alternative kind of Rally, but it helps to keep our members focused on creative activities and fun.  We cannot wait to see their obstacle course videos!”

Staffordshire has also been encouraging its members to share their skills too through online demos. YFC member Emily Cartmail hosted a live cake decorating session to teach members how to ice cakes.

When Devon FYFC’s popular Show and Sale had to be cancelled due to the virus, organisers set about finding an alternative way to hold the event. Not wanting to waste all of the effort members had put into rearing and preparing their stock for the big day, the county decided to host a Virtual Livestock Show on the 29 April with the support of its sponsor Kivells.

Members are invited to send in photographs of their stock to be judged by the Kivells team. While the stock will not be sold following the show – they are anticipating record numbers to take part and looking forward to awarding the supreme champion.

Helen Bellew, Devon FYFC’s Agri Chairman, said: “It’s so important to run competitions like this during this time to keep some sense of normality for our members. We are hoping that our virtual show will give members a focus and help to keep the YFC spirit alive! Prior to Covid-19, a lot of work had gone into picking the right animals, feeding and halter training, therefore we are delighted to be able to give members the opportunity to showcase their efforts.”

At a national committee level, NFYFC’s steering groups have been holding regular catch ups to discuss new programmes of work and helping to plan YFC at Home.

The Youth Forum got together on a Zoom meeting to discuss future plans and projects and enjoyed the experience.

Ruth Cooper said: “Having online meetings has been a brilliant way for the Youth Forum members to keep in touch during this difficult time. We had a great level of participation from members, keeping us all informed of the different challenges and activities going on across the country. It’s a great way to keep in touch and remind members that we’re all in the same boat and that we’re there for each other if any one needs a chat.”

What is your club doing to stay connected during isolation? You can share ideas with NFYFC here in our online form.







20 April 2020

Hundreds of YFC members pulled on their aprons to prove their prowess at making sponge cakes in the first of NFYFC’s YFC Isolation Challenges.

Social media was flooded with proud posts from YFC members showing off their sponge cake triumphs – with not a “soggy bottom” in sight. And due to the popularity of the challenge, there will now be a 'Showstopper' Cake Tent at the Greatest Agricultural Online Show that will be hosted on the 2 May and NFYFC President Charlotte Smith will judge the entries. 

NFYFC’s baking challenge was a simple idea to encourage YFC members to do something fun while at home – and was a great activity for those home schooling at the moment too.

Activities such as these are also aimed at improving mental wellbeing as members can be productive and connect with others by sharing images of their final masterpieces online.

Sophie, 10, from Bicester & Islip Junior YFC in Oxfordshire, took part in the YFC Isolation Bake Off challenge by making a chocolate cake and piping ‘Stay at Home’ on the top of it. 

“With our county rally being cancelled, it was a chance to show off my baking skills,” said Sophie who is a keen baker and has also taken part in the Snapshot and Revamp challenges too.

“I think they’re great,” said Sophie about the new NFYFC challenges. “They’re a good way to see other YFC members’ ideas and to stay in touch.”

Tabitha Bradley from Witheridge YFC in Devon iced her sponge cake to create a pink bunny – complete with ears protruding from the top of the cake.

“I decided to take part in the YFC Bake Off because I enjoy baking and I thought it would be something fun to do. I decided to make a pink bunny cake, as it was nice and cheerful, and with Easter around the corner it seemed relevant,” said Tabitha.

“This wasn't a new challenge for me as I have made and decorated many cakes before. However this challenge encouraged me to think of new ideas and develop baking skills whilst in isolation. When I set out on this challenge I thought it would be quite quick and simple but after piping a small section of the pink icing I discovered it was going to take a very long time!

Tabitha said the challenges are a good way to encourage people to try new things and share their talents. 

She added: “These challenges also encourage people to stay busy and be part of the NFYFC community, which is especially important at this difficult time to ensure people stay connected.”

NFYFC Chairman Dewi Parry announces the following week’s challenges on his live updates with members on Facebook every Friday night at 8pm.

The top five entries from each challenge will be submitted to the YFC Isolation Challenge Finals that will be held during the Greatest Online Agricultural Show on 2 May 2020. The Showstopper Challenge requires YFC members to share photos of their magnificent 'bakes' on 2 May.

Find out more about the YFC isolation challenges here.  

  

 
 


20 April 2020

Supporting farmers with grain marketing decisions is still a role Luke Cox from Malmesbury YFC is able to fulfil in isolation while he’s based on the family farm in the Cotswolds.

What’s your job?

I work for Frontier Agriculture, the UK’s leading crop production and grain marketing business. As a farm trader I form close customer relationships with farmers to support their business in grain marketing decisions. I have customers stretching from Devon through to Nottingham, and I enjoy helping them to add value to the crops they grow by linking them with a variety of end markets for their grain.

Has the Coronavirus impacted your family farm?

The family farm in the Cotswolds has not been directly hit by Coronavirus yet, as the majority of work is carried out in isolation anyway and food production is rightly classed as essential work. Further down the line, however, I think the industry must expect the nature of how food is produced in the UK to change. Will the UK actively work to become more self-sufficient? Will consumers quickly return to eating out as much as they used to, now more people have had to cook more meals at home? It is too early to know what will change permanently, but the adaptations we have all made during this crisis could alter our behaviour.

What plans have you put in place to manage the possible impact of the outbreak?

As a farm trader, the biggest change to my way of working has been the transition to home working. There is no doubt that it is a very different way of working, but I am very fortunate that I am supported well by the company I work for in terms of technology and equipment and I have my own office space at home. I also don’t have anyone depending on me or to manage my time around, such as children. This has made it very easy for me to complete my normal work routine during the day, and then shut the door on my office at the end of the day to create a clear separation between work and home. In all other respects of my work, it is business as usual. I still look after my customers and provide them with the information they need, and our supply chain connections ensure we can deliver our first-class service in as close to the usual way as possible.

How do you feel about the essential role British farming is playing during the crisis?

Food production is essential, and if supply chains are disrupted as we near the peak of the coronavirus, UK food is likely to become even more in focus. As some products disappear off supermarket shelves due to panic buying or lack of supply, many local farm shops remain stocked with fresh, traceable food produced on the consumer’s doorstep.  There has been a noticeable and significant increase in appreciation for people in the NHS who are working around the clock to save lives.  Once the coronavirus crisis has ended, it would be great if one of the legacies is people having a better understanding of the countryside and role farmers have in UK food production.

Should the public be concerned about food shortages?

Britain’s farmers are still producing food, just as they always have. To protect that essential food production it is important that we all respect the land and facilities we use when we access the countryside, for example when we are out walking.

What ways are your YFC supporting each other?

Whilst the coronavirus crisis has restricted personal contact, the volume of online communication has significantly increased. One member within our club has organised a quiz once a week, where we all meet up on video link and compete for beer tokens once the pubs reopen.  Outside of Young Farmers I have been taking part in online quizzes, answering questions with friends over video as another means to maintain contact and support each other.  Both in a social sense and a business sense, the forced move to virtual meetings has highlighted the strong benefits of shorter, more frequent discussions, which ensure as individual groups we remain connected and look after each other.

If you would like to be featured in one of our YFC frontline profiles, please email media@nfyfc.org.uk. 


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