National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

Coronavirus guidance for YFC members

Last updated: 24.02.21

NFYFC has collated this information to help YFC members concerned about the impact of Coronavirus on their club activities. Keeping the YFC community safe is our priority and we will be updating this information regularly as the situation develops.

All the latest updates and advice are available on the Government website here.

County offices, County Chairs, NFYFC Council and County management teams are also being regularly updated with more detailed and specific information through weekly Covid-19 briefings from NFYFC. Please speak to your County Office if you would like access to this more detailed information. 

YFC Club and County meetings and events

Advice for YFCs in England 

On 22 February, the Prime Minister set out his roadmap for easing lockdown in England, which will be in four stages. Currently England remains in lockdown but all schools will reopen from 8 March. It is hoped that by 29 March more easing of restrictions will be made with the hope that as we move towards the summer there will be even fewer restrictions due to the vaccination programme and the warmer weather.

We will follow guidance from the National Youth Agency (NYA) – who are currently working with Government – to alert YFCs when face-to-face meetings can resume and what restrictions are required.

While we encourage club committees to continue to plan and offer online activities for now, YFCs can start to think about early planning for some face-to-face activities during the summer months. NFYFC is working with County Federations to advise on what planning can be done at the moment.

The youth sector readiness level is at RED for all of England for ALL age groups. The NYA guidance can be read here.

For YFC this means:

  • Support groups can only be provided for YFC members (of all ages) who are considered vulnerable – in groups of no more than 15, plus leaders/supervisors. Participants must be invited to attend/pre-booked to attend.
  • Only one support group is allowed in a venue at one time but you can have back-to-back meetings if thorough cleaning takes place. 
  • Community spaces can be opened for your meetings. 
  • 1-2-1 triage meetings with a vulnerable person can take place in a drop-in style session or via a pre-booked session. 
  • Trips, visits and residentials are not permitted. 

Other events that cannot be considered youthwork for the support of vulnerable people will require permission from local authorities and local police.  

We encourage all YFCs to keep any physical meetings to manage the charity to an absolute minimum and as short as possible.  We advise that these meetings are held online via video call.  We also advise against YFC membership activities during the lockdown unless these are essential to support vulnerable young people. Instead, all YFCs should run an online programme, using resources and support from the YFC at Home section of the website.  

>>NFYFC's updated Covid-Secure for YFCs in England guidelines can be downloaded here.  

Advice for YFCs in Wales

NFYFC and Wales FYFC will closely follow the Welsh Government's announcements about plans to lift the current Alert level 4 (lockdown) and as previously will be examining the easements that are announced and any detailed guidance published - to establish what will be possible for YFCs and when in-person activities will resume. 

Most of the current Level 4 lockdown restrictions in Wales were extended by three weeks from 19 February 2021 to ensure the youngest school pupils can return to school.  Children aged three to seven will begin returning to schools in a phased way, and some vocational learners on courses that require practical learning, will return to college.

The next three-week review of the regulations will also consider the restrictions around non-essential retail and close contact services. – this is due on 12 March.

While we encourage club committees to continue to plan and offer online activities for now, YFCs can start to think about early planning for some face-to-face activities during the summer months. NFYFC is working with County Federations to advise on what planning can be done at the moment. 

The Welsh government Youthwork Strategy branch advises that:

  • all but essential face-to-face youth work should stop, other than with the most vulnerable of young people. 
  • Where face-to-face contact is unavoidable, then it should not be on a group basis unless there is no alternative. 
  • Where one-to-one meetings take place, it must be for the safety and wellbeing of the individual, and be in full regard to social distancing requirements.

Guidance for youth work services in Wales is available here.

We encourage all YFCs to keep any physical meetings to manage the charity to an absolute minimum and as short as possible.  We advise that these meetings are held online via video call.  We also advise against YFC membership activities during the lockdown unless these are essential to support vulnerable young people. Instead, all YFCs should run an online programme, using resources and support from the YFC at Home section of the website.   

>>NFYFC's updated Covid-Secure for YFCs in Wales guidelines can be downloaded here.  

The NFYFC and Wales FYFC will prepare a new toolkit for YFCs in Wales and again provide training and question and answer sessions online. 

Give it Some YFC Welly Relay 

Many clubs and counties are taking part in the Give it Some YFC Welly Relay to try and raise much-needed funds for their county federations. We still encourage everyone to get involved but you will need to ensure your activities only involve you and members of your household. You can meet with one other person from another household outside but you should still maintain social distancing. Think of alternative ways to cover the mileage for your county, by, for example, asking each member to walk a number of miles in their back garden or round their farm, if appropriate, doing the walk with a member of their own household or support bubble, or meeting up with one other from the club - while maintaining social distancing. Please also follow Government advice about only leaving your house for exercise once per day.   

You can donate to your county and the campaign here.  

Supporting your community – YFC Rural Support

All YFCs in England and Wales can continue to assist community groups with their Covid-19 response.  It is likely that some people will again require assistance as they shield or take extra care to protect themselves.  

We are aware many YFC clubs have been supporting their local communities during the pandemic. As clubs start to meet and plan activities, we would encourage you to look at Covid-19 Mutual Aid for ways to support existing local groups too and ensure you follow social distancing guidelines.You can find out more about Covid19 Mutual Aid UK here and find a group near to you. 

If you’re taking part in a local community support group – with or without your YFC – you could be part of the Farming Help database that is supporting the farming community during the Covid-19 outbreak. The Helpline (03000 111 999), operated by FCN, is open 7am - 11pm every day of the year.

FCN is also helping the farming community to build personal and business resilience during this challenging time. Its FarmWell website and FarmWell Wales website provides a wealth of information and guidance around topics such as Brexit, Covid-19, mental health, faith and spirituality and much more. 

YFC Competitions 

The competitions programme for 2020-21 is subject to changes in line with Government guidelines and restrictions. NFYFC is working with County Federations to advise on any adaptations that need to be made. It is hoped the national finals will be held in 2021 but back up plans have been made should these need to be held virtually due to any ongoing Government restrictions. 

A new competitions programme has been issued, which you can view here.

There is an extension to the age ranges that can compete during this membership year. It means that in 2020-21 YFC members who are aged 27 or under on 1 September will still be able to compete. Clubs and counties are asked to check the ages that can compete in sports though, as insurance restrictions will still remain.

Please refer to the Competitions pages for regular updates on any changes to the competitions programme. 

NFYFC Council and Steering Group Meetings

Members of all five steering groups have been holding regular meetings online to discuss and guide the programme of work at NFYFC during these uncertain times. The February Council meeting and elections were held online via Zoom. 

Mental health

We understand the impact social distancing restrictions are having on YFC members – especially as so many already live in isolated areas and rely on their weekly club meetings to socialise with others.

To help YFC members look after their mental wellbeing during these uncertain times, NFYFC has created Take Time resources, sponsored by Tama. There are seven steps to follow with practical advice and tips on helping you to take time away from the pressures you may be under. All of these resources are available online here

If you feel that you are having a mental health crisis, emergency or breakdown, you need to seek immediate expert advice and assessment. You can call your GP, ring the Samaritans on 116 123 or the Farming Help number on 03000 111 999. You can also follow the links under the ‘Urgent Help’ section here. 

The NHS also suggests viewing the Every Mind Matters website if you are having to self-isolate and are feeling lonely. 

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