Natural England - A new source of funding for rural communities

A new source of funding for rural communities

23 July 2010

Consumers will help improve the long-term sustainability of the British countryside.

The Prince's Countryside Trust logo

This week sees the launch of The Prince’s Countryside Fundexternal link , a collaborative cause related marketing scheme inspired by The Prince of Wales’s desire to support Britain’s rural areas. It aims to raise money from a wide range of businesses and their consumers to help improve the long-term sustainability of the British countryside and its rural communities.

Robin Tucker, Natural England’s Executive Director, National Delivery, is part of the steering group that developed the fund with Corporate Responsibility charity Business in the Community (BITC). “We are delighted that a new source of grant funding will shortly be available to projects seeking to improve the sustainability of British farming and rural communities,” Said Robin.

What will it support?

Explaining the benefits Robin said “The fund will support the vital role our land managers play in sustaining the landscapes we all enjoy, in a way that complements other schemes, such as our Environmental Stewardship. The fund will also provide financial support to rural communities in times of crisis, easing the often disproportionate impact of natural disasters on rural economies, such as we saw last autumn following the floods in Cumbria.”

All the companies that have partnered with BITC to launch this Fund, which has a starting pot of £1m, have a special connection to the British countryside through the products they make or sell. They will feature The Prince’s Countryside Fund’s logo on selected packaging from next month and help communicate the importance of the countryside to consumers. In addition, from the autumn, The Post Office will make it possible for consumers to donate over the counter to The Prince’s Countryside Fund at their 12,000 branches.

The fund was launched by leaders of the food industry at St James Palace on Thursday 22nd July. Decisions about which projects to fund will be made by an independent Board of Trustees, who have already approved three initial programmes: UTASSexternal link, Pub is the Hubexternal link and The Farmer Networkexternal link. A proportion of funding has been reserved for emergencies and the Fund will be making further grants later in the year.

For further information:

Information on how community groups and farmers can apply is available on the Prince’s Countryside Fundexternal link and Business in the Communityexternal link websites.

For further information on Natural England’s involvement contact Emily Ball on 07970 194141.