National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

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

An impressive cohort of 85 tractors helped Lewdown YFC in Devon raise £1250 for charities Cancer Research UK and MIND.

It was the second year the club has held a charity tractor run and they managed to top last year’s fundraising total by £250 and 25 more tractors got involved. Keen members helped out on the day – serving up bacon rolls and homemade cottage pies!

Devon FYFC Chairman Alice Giles also joined the fundraisers on the day to wish them success in their challenge. 

Club Secretary Becky Dennis was determined to start an annual tractor run after taking on the role of secretary back in 2017: “Our members had been saying they wanted to do a tractor run for a couple of years so when I took on the role of secretary I said we would do one – and I stuck to my word and organised it!

“We wouldn’t be able to do this event without the help of our members club leaders and parents so I owe it to all them for getting together and pulling off such a fantastic charity and social event! It will definitely be an event for many years to come.”

28 March 2019

How do you secure a club meeting space for future generations? Buy the land your club hall is on, say Threemilestone YFC!  Natalie Brown, Social Media and Communications Officer for the 72-year-old Club, reveals all about their £52k challenge.

Why does your club want to buy the site where your club house is based?

This has been our home for 57 years and the Club has seen generations of YFC members have fun here and it’s at the root of our club and it’s history. The site is situated in a prime location and is local to the Threemilestone and District surroundings, which forms the name of our club and it’s in the heart of the community.

How much money do you need to raise? 

The total amount we need to raise is £52,000.

Have you got a deadline by which you need to raise the funds?

The club aims to raise this within three years from the start date. The hope is that by December 2022 the club will own the land and the club hall.

What plans have you got to raise the funds?

As well as writing letters to current and former members to ask for donations to the campaign, we officially launched in January 2019 with a tea party for generations of members to give donations.

So far we have held a comedy night with more than 100 people joining us and a coast-to-coast tractor run with 65 new and vintage tractors.

Future events include an Auction of Promises with 100 lots donated by individuals, local and national companies. These will be auctioned off by local auctioneer Ed Harris from Lodge and Thomas at Griggs restaurant on Friday 5 April at 7:30pm.

We are also planning a murder mystery evening and an annual clay pigeon shoot as well as hiring out our bar and bar staff for functions.

We have introduced a supporters draw too so that supporters have a chance to win back some money with 50% of the pot being donated back to the club and 50% to be shared between three winners in each quarterly draw.

The club members are very keen to actively work on events and put the effort in to raising the funds. The club treasurer is also looking to identify any potential grants or community schemes that we may be able to access. 

Is your club house owned by your club and how did you go about purchasing this? 

Club Chairman Andrew Oatey in May 1958 recognised the club was thriving and was becoming too big for the local school classroom. In July 16th 1960 the club purchased the club hall costing £200 from the Fire Station at RAF St Eval after it was facing closure. It took the members 10 weeks and 15 lorry loads to safely dismantle the building and transfer it to its new home. The Queen Mother visited the hall on Wednesday 25th April 1962 to officially open the Hall and give it the Royal blessing. The same day the Tamar bridge was opened.

What's it like inside and what makes it special?

The club hall comprises male and female toilets, a kitchen, a large hall and a staged area. The walls are a mix of blue and white with a wooden floor. The original wooden beams are a real feature of the roof. The toilets are rather dated and will be improved in the future.

Local firm Howdens donated a brand new kitchen to us which was fitted by three club members Ben Brown, Andy Holden and Toby Rickard in 2012. The hall is regularly painted and maintained by the members.

Why would you recommend other YFCs consider having their own building and land?

We have been extremely lucky to have our own club house. It’s not just our club that has benefited it has been widely used by other clubs and the county team as we are the only club in Cornwall with our own Club Hall.

Local community spaces can be rare to find and book for regular club night meetings and the cost of this is ongoing. The club hall provides us with a home and hub for all our activities, including home for cubicle when it comes to Royal Cornwall Show time.

Having your own club hall does not come without some challenges but the sense of pride of the building being your own really does make it something special.

Has everyone in the club got a role to help raise the funds?

It really is a team effort as all current members voted unanimously in 2018 to purchase the land. Club members past and present help to run and organise events and also attend to support and have fun. The club members are vital for helping with the success of the campaign.

With a thriving club and not underestimating the challenges the club were going to have ahead of them over the next few years a separate Fundraising For Our Future team was created.

This team consists of Chairman Toby Rickard a previous club chairman, Secretary Julia Burley current club leader, myself and Treasurer Lucy Rafferty the clubs current Treasurer.   

Has it helped bring the club together?

The club is thriving more than ever with a large intake of younger members which is fantastic to see as part of securing the future of the club.

With a wide range of activities and calendar of events for the campaign it really has brought the club together and younger members have heard from past members and their stories.

With rural isolation and mental health being high on the agenda it’s fantastic to see the club pull along with the local community. 

28 March 2019

Young farmers in Lincolnshire have been taking their tractors into schools to help build relationships and teach young people about agriculture. 

Tractors Into Schools 2019 was the brainchild of the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society to “spread the food, farming and countryside message”. Lincolnshire FYFC has been working with the Society and the NFU to help them meet their aim of getting a tractor into every school in the county.

YFCs have taken the opportunity to talk to children about the role the tractor plays in bringing food to our tables and how British food is produced. Members of Lincolnshire FYFC have so far visited nine schools, and in one afternoon saw over 200 pupils.

Kate Knight, Strategic Development Manager for Lincolnshire FYFC, said: “It was a great opportunity to share the message and shout a bit about Young Farmers’ Clubs too!

“We did a variety of activities including Farming Facts ‘True or False’, buckets of grain and the food it turns into, guess the farming objects, and lots of other fun things!

“We were really grateful to all the farmers and dealers that lent us shiny, clean tractors and to the Agricultural Society and LEAF for helping us with the preparation and planning.”

NFYFC has developed a new Future Farming training module and materials with LEAF Education that YFC trainers and clubs can deliver in schools to year 9 pupils. The module helps to share positive messages about careers in agriculture as well as explore living in the wider world, whilst encompassing economic and environmental wellbeing and aspects of agricultural, food and retail careers education.

For more information about the Future Farming module, see here. 


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