£600,000 in grant funding available from The Prince’s Countryside Fund to support rural communities

Charities and social enterprises in rural communities can now apply for vital grants of up to £50,000, to support projects that will improve the prospects and viability of family farm businesses, or that will drive economic vibrancy and sustain rural areas. Up to £600,000 of grant funding is available in this round.

Since it was founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2010, the Fund has helped over 220 projects throughout the UK.

Claire Saunders, Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund, said: “Farmers and rural businesses continue to be faced huge challenges, so the support offered by the Fund is needed more than ever. Many of our grants aim to support projects that help farmers improve their skills and confidence, whether they are new entrants to the industry or run established businesses.

“We have also seen the devastating effect that the closure of a shop or pub can have to village life, removing both vital amenities and places for social interaction. Our grants act as a reminder that we must prioritise and support businesses in the countryside to ensure we maintain a thriving and sustainable future for the UK’s rural areas.”

The Fund has recently supported the Farmer Network in Cumbria, allowing them to provide training vouchers to farmers in the local area. Tom, a farmer who has been able to complete a spraying course thanks to this, said: “Organisations like the Farmer Network are a life line to the farming community, giving advice and funding discounted courses. Without this service, I would not have been able to afford to complete the training.”

A grant has also been awarded to support a community shop in Beckbury, Shropshire. Dr Heather Thomas, chair of the board of the Beckbury Community Shop, said: “We’re thrilled that after several years of hard work, the prospect of a community shop is now a reality, and very grateful to The Prince’s Countryside Fund. We are very much looking forward to enhancing community life and addressing the hidden issues that can so easily be missed in a small village.” This grant was made possible thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Grant applications open online on Monday 4th September, and close at 5pm on Thursday 5th October. Applications received after this time will not be considered.

The Fund is particularly keen to receive applications from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.