The future existence of the young farmers’ movement in Cumbria is under threat as the deadline draws closer for its county office to leave Newton Rigg College, Penrith.
With around two months to go until Newton Rigg is set to be closed by York-based Askham Bryan College, efforts to find a new home for the county federation have so far proved fruitless.
Cumbria YFC has been located at the Penrith campus for more than 80 years, paying a peppercorn rent, and there is concern failure to find new office space could sound the death knell for the organisation.
County officer Joanne Mills said that as a registered charity reliant on fundraising, primarily through young farmers’ socials and dances, Cumbria YFC saw its usual sources of income dry up almost completely in March of last year.
The federation is working hard to keep members engaged and is planning to fully restart activities and competitions in September.
Prior to the pandemic, Cumbria YFC had around 1,500 members aged between from 10 to 26 who regularly took part in competitions, activities, events, fundraising and community activities.
Joanne said: “The organisation plays a vital role within Cumbria, helping to guard against rural isolation and deliver training, skills and support to the young people of the county.
“With around 900 members signed up this year, hopes are high that membership will rebuild quickly once restrictions are lifted. However, the lack of a county office space could severely hinder these plans.
“The reality of finding a person or organisation in Penrith or the surrounding area who is willing to offer Cumbria YFC office space is not proving easy.
“This has been such a difficult year for everyone and unfortunately our search so far has proved fruitless.
“As of July 31, the Cumbria YFC county office at Newton Rigg will close, putting the activities and events of the organisation in great jeopardy. In a year that has seen our young farmers lose Newton Rigg College and their first step on the ladder to their chosen careers, to also lose Cumbria YFC would be truly awful.”
Anybody able to help the young farmers secure office space for two to three people should contact Joanne Mills on 01768 866550 or at email@example.com