Outstanding voluntary work throughout the Cumbria Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (FYFC) has been recognised with the King’s Award for Voluntary Service 2023, the highest accolade a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
Cumbria FYFC is one of the first cohort of voluntary organisations to receive the Award from the King and the news was announced on His Majesty’s birthday – 14 November 2023.
The Award, which is equivalent to an MBE, aims to recognise outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee and, following his accession, His Majesty The King emphasised his desire to continue the Award.
Cumbria FYFC is one of only 262 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the Award this year. Their work, along with others from across the UK highlights all the ways fantastic volunteers are contributing to their local communities and working to make life better for those around them.
William Longmire, County Chair of Cumbria YFC, said:
“We couldn’t be more proud of this award and of our volunteers. For Cumbria YFC to be recognised in this way is an incredible achievement and means so much to us all.
“The commitment and enthusiasm of our volunteers is what makes Cumbria YFC so special and we are grateful for their dedication and support which has helped us achieve so much as an organisation.”
Founded in 1937, Cumbria FYFC had two main principles; to help those working in agriculture to develop the skills to represent themselves and their industry and to help combat the loneliness of rural life.
These principles still hold true today and the county credits the hard work and commitment of its volunteers over the last 86 years with Cumbria FYFC’s development.
Cumbria FYFC’s Chief Officer Joanne Mills said:
“Our members today do not all work in farming or agriculture, but our young farmers do all have an interest in rural affairs and are passionate about their local communities and their county.
“Our volunteers are the people who mentor and support our members, helping them to develop and grow into confident and resilient adults who will go on to play a major part in the future of Cumbria.”
Alex Sibbald, Cumbria YFC County President, said:
“Cumbria YFC is unique in voluntary group terms, our members are also often our volunteers, taking on officer positions and mentoring younger members.
“Once out of age, members become our next generation of volunteers, giving back to the organisation that has given them so much. Our volunteers are the life blood of Cumbria YFC and we are so pleased that they have been recognised for all the work that they do for us.”
Representatives of Cumbria YFC will receive the award crystal and certificate from Mr Alex Scott, Lord-Lieutenant of Cumbria. In addition, two volunteers from Cumbria YFC will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May and June 2024, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.
Award winners this year include volunteer groups from across the UK, such as a social support network for disabled adults in Banffshire, volunteer doctors providing pre-hospital care across rural Cumbria and a village renewal organisation promoting sustainability, equality and social inclusion in County Antrim.