National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

29 March 2019

YFC members, who sit on the NFYFC Council, are calling on the wider membership to debate the issue of appropriate meeting spaces for clubs.

Due to there often being a lack of local rural venues for clubs to meet, YFCs regularly organise meetings at the local pub. While meeting in a function or private room of a public house is considered acceptable and supportive of local rural businesses and the community, NFYFC Council would like all clubs to debate whether meeting in the ‘bar area’ (the main body of the pub) is appropriate when nearly half of all members are aged under 18.

NFYFC’s Council, comprising county elected YFC members and associate members, has proposed the motion “that the main body of a public house (pub) is not an appropriate space for YFC business meetings.” 

The motion is designed to encourage YFC club committees to carefully consider the place of their weekly club meetings – to create the best environment for young people to meet (many of them being under the age of 18). 

The motion will be proposed at NFYFC’s Annual General Meeting on Sunday 12 May at Stareton Hall, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. If the motion is formally adopted at the AGM, clubs will be issued with a guidance note about appropriate locations for club meetings.

NFYFC’s Chairman of Council Katie Hall said: “I want YFCs to understand that should this motion be passed, it would still be acceptable for club meetings to take place in meeting/function rooms of public houses.

“We understand that local pubs often provide a free space to meet and it can be a great place to connect with the local community. What we want to debate is the issue of club meetings taking place in the bar area of a pub where there can be distractions and where non-YFC members are present. The bar is not an enclosed area for a club meeting and it could make some younger members feel uncomfortable. 

“This motion is asking YFC members and clubs to consider that their regular meeting place provides a safe, inclusive and appropriate environment to ensure everyone is comfortable, including the parents/guardians of those under 18 years of age.”

Nearly 50% of NFYFC’s membership is under 18 years of age, with a third of those aged between 10-14 years old. 

NFYFC Council is now asking YFC Clubs and Counties to start meaningful debates about the proposal and would like to hear the views of clubs at the AGM.

Each YFC Club receives two voting cards to use at the meeting and every YFC Club is encouraged to attend to share their views.

Members have until 12 noon on 3 April to submit any amendments to the motion to James Eckley.

Information on choosing a suitable venue can be found in‘ Forming a New Club’ in Section 3 of NFYFC’s handbook The Source.

For help with understanding more about the motions, visit here.

For help with holding a YFC meeting on this topic in your Club, visit here.

29 March 2019

Two YFCs in Kent are celebrating receiving grants from a Charitable Trust that will help them support YFC members.

Weald of Kent YFC and Mount Lodge YFC won the grants from the David Friday Memorial Fund, which was set up by a local egg farming family, and which gives grants to young peoples' groups interested in agriculture within ten miles of the town of Cranbrook. 

Weald of Kent YFC submitted a successful grant application for a training project called Growing Safer Farmers, and have received £2,800 for first aid and food hygiene training and so they can offer bursaries for accredited training, such as telehandling, or chainsaw maintenance and handling. 

Club Chairman James Eckley said: “We’re very happy to be able to encourage safe practice on farms and increase employability of our members using meaningful training. We’re also hoping the project will help us recruit new members.”

The club will spend the grant over two years to enable as many members as possible to access bursaries of up to £200.

Mount Lodge YFC received £5,000 from the fund to build a new polytunnel and to refurbish their current one. The club is based on a care farm and young farmers’ meet on Saturdays and during school holidays to look after the animals and help them grow vegetables and flowers in the tunnel and garden.

Many of the members have learning and physical disabilities and the tunnel offers an area they can participate in horticulture even when the weather conditions are not good. The tunnel is also used as a nursery for ewes and lambs in the spring.

Amy Langdon from Mount Lodge YFC said: “Having more tunnel space will give more members the opportunity to get involved. The polytunnel is a great space for all of our members, from those in mainstream schools to those who are less able. The members prepare the tunnels for growing, plant all of the produce, grow all of their own fruits and vegetables over the warmer periods and then the members are able to harvest their own produce and we will use these in lunches at YFC meets.

“It is great to give the members the chance at growing their own produce, and learning about it on the way. With the space also available for the ewes and lambs this gives our young farmers the chance to have hands on experience with the lambing period and they get to learn about the routine tasks involved with this.”

The grant from the David Friday Memorial Fund was made available through the Kent Community Foundation but there are lots of similar funds around the country that clubs can apply to.

Kent County President Claire Eckley said : “There are 41 Community Foundations across the UK, giving out £98m with an average grant of £4,121 – which means they are a great port of call for Clubs and Counties for core funding and projects.

“Our Federation ran Fundraising training to increase the capacity of clubs in Kent to raise more money. It was not run by anyone from YFC, so it brought plenty of new ideas to clubs, like applying for grants.”

Application advice 

The clubs provided the following tips on applying for a grant: 

  • When filling in your form, don’t forget you’re telling people about YFC who might never even have heard of it before.  
  • Remember you’re in competition with others – so make sure you highlight the benefits it will bring to young rural people
  • Find someone who can help with grammar, spelling and making your application really clear and understandable – it might only be read once.
  • Save what you write as a lot of applications have similar questions and you can pick out bits and use them again, especially when you write about your club. 
  • Find out about local organisations that are involved with funding and managing funds.
  • Do lots of online research to find out what funds are available, you’ll be amazed to find funding opportunities on your doorstep that specifically want to fund agricultural projects for young people. 

29 March 2019

NFYFC’s new environmental campaign Protect Your Future is underway and clubs and counties are already ordering sapling trees from The Woodland Trust to plant in November 2019.

So far there has been lots of interest from Clubs and County Federations with Wedmore YFC in Somerset already successfully having their application approved.

The campaign, which was launched by NFYFC Chairwoman Katie Hall at the Council meeting in February, aims to see the organisation plant a tree per member during the government’s Year of Green Action.

Marcus Bailey, Personal Development Steering Group Chairman, said: “It’s fantastic to see clubs already getting on board with this and planning their projects.

“This campaign is a simple way for YFCs to show their support for sustainability and the environment. I am really excited about seeing all the photos of the trees being planted later this year.”

While the main focus of the campaign is tree planting, NFYFC is also encouraging YFCs to be green in 2019 and do at least one thing to support the environment and their local community.

Norfolk FYFC ordered Grow Wild seed packs so that their Countrysiders can plant wild flowers throughout the county and in Kent Estuary (pictured) they spent one Saturday clearing up their local park to help improve the environment for the local community. 

For more information about getting involved in Protect Your Future, see here. 

29 March 2019

Public Speaking teams from across England and Wales are celebrating making it through to the national competition finals in Staffordshire this July after succeeding in the Regional Finals of the competitions.

Teams competed in Junior Public Speaking, Brainstrust and After Dinner Speaking in both the Northern and Southern finals in March.

In Lincolnshire, the winning After Dinner Speaking team are hoping their success will encourage other members to take part in the competitions programme.

“I think the whole team would say that it has been a great experience for us,” said Charlotte Garbutt from North Holland YFC. “Not only in the competing and getting a lot of out of it that we can apply in the world of work, but also how we have come together from different clubs to form a team to represent our County. It’s brought us closer together.

“Hopefully, it will have inspired some of our other members who might not have considered taking part in a competition, particularly a speaking competition.”

Charlotte says that the secret of their success has been that they have been able to inspire and motivate each other – even using a Facebook Messenger Group to keep each other going.

“We use it as a platform to bounce ideas off, and share any thoughts we’ve got,” she said. “But it’s also a good tool to keep things alive and keep things buzzing. When you’ve got five people in there and someone says they’re really looking forward to the competition, it really enthuses you.”

Charlotte sees no reason to change the approach that has been so successful for them so far.

“We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing, making little tweaks where we need to,” she said. “The good thing is everyone in the team brings their own individual stamp – everyone has their own strengths. Together, we make a good team.”

Charlotte’s Lincolnshire team will join second place County Durham FYFC and, from the Southern Regional Finals, Devon FYFC and second place Cornwall FYFC. They will also be joined by Ceredigion FYFC in the finals.

Katie Sanderson from County Durham FYFC was named the best speaker in the Northern finals and Matt Darke from Devon FYFC was the best speaker in the Southern finals.

After coming third in the Junior Public Speaking National Finals in 2018, Jacob Ryder is hoping to reach the top spot this year.

His Yorkshire team have just secured their place at this year’s showpiece event after coming first in the Northern regional finals alongside the second placed team Cumbria FYFC.

Jacob, from Farnley Estate YFC, won the best speaker award after picking a subject close to his heart for his topic – his grandpops.

“We had one night about two weeks before the competition to go through it all,” explains Jacob. “Then leading up to the competition, I just went through my speech and practised questions with my mum and dad.

“For the National final, I think we’ll leave it for a little while and then we’ll have a few group practices nearer the time – we’ll just keep doing what we did this time.”

Other winners in the Junior Public Speaking competition Northern finals included Best Chairman Charlotte Booth from Yorkshire A, and Best Vote of Thanks Ella Berry from Cumbria.

In the Southern finals Devon FYFC won first place with Somerset YFC also getting through to the finals by coming second. The best speaker award went to Molly Clist from Devon and Best Vote of Thanks went to Rose McCombe, also from Devon. The best chairman was awarded to Zoe Stanbury from Somerset.

The weekend also included the Brainstrust competition and Lancashire FYFC came first in the Northern finals with Cumbria second place. In the Southern finals, Dorset FYFC was the winning team and Herefordshire FYFC also got through to the national finals in second place. They will be joined by Brecknock YFC from Wales.

To see all the results from the Public Speaking competitions see here 


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