HRH The Prince of Wales celebrates 25 years of UTASS

Today (12th September) HRH The Prince of Wales visited Kirkharle Hall in Northumberland to meet with representatives and volunteers of the Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services (UTASS).

HRH joined a reception celebrating the 25th anniversary of UTASS as part of his tour of Kirkhale Hall. After listening to Lord Curry of Kirkhale give a short vote of thanks, HRH cut a celebratoy cake to mark the occasion.

Diane Spark, Project Manager at UTASS said: “We are utterly delighted that HRH The Prince of Wales has acknowledged 25 years of the work of UTASS. HRH has done an enormous amount to support the work of UTASS over the years and we are very much looking forward to sharing such a significant milestone with him.”

UTASS was founded in 1993 and since then has worked closely with people in sparsely populated communities in the Durham Dales, to develop and expand services and support in line with local needs. UTASS has been supported by grants from The Prince’s Countryside Fund over the past eight years.

UTASS provides person centred support across a wide range of ages, and adapts to the somtiems difficult and unpredictable circumstances which face people living in rural isolation. The services and activities that they provide adress four main issues: social isolation, health and mental wellbeing, access to services, and poverty. These include the provision of Post Office facilities, the development of a heating oil bulk buying group, and emergency food bank facilities. For those with urgent needs support is available 24/7/365.

HRH also met with farmers who attended The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme in Middleton in Teesdale, run by his Countryside Fund.

Held in 15 locations across the country annually, The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme helps farming families to become more resilient and prepare for the future, through a series of business skills workshops led by leading agricultural consultancies.

Claire Saunders, Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said: “It is fantastic that HRH The Prince of Wales was able to visit Northumberland to meet with UTASS and hear first-hand about the invaluable support they offer farming families in the Durham Dales area.

“I’m also delighted that he was able to meet with farmers who have benefitted from The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme, to hear about how it is helping to create sustainable futures for farming communities in the north east.”

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