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Award winning sustainable company herdy announces new charitable fund

Cumbrian fell farmer Kevin in the Lakeland fells. Credit: Spencer Hannah © herdy

[T]oday lovable Lake District brand herdy formally launched their herdyfund as an official charitable fund.

The herdyfund has been in existence since day one of herdy but up to now had been funded from a percentage of profits from the company. Today marks the beginning of a new charitable fund which will be managed by the registered charity, Cumbria Community Foundation (CCF).

herdy will still direct how the fund works but it means they can now accept donations for the first time. Its purpose is to fund, sponsor, interact, help inspire and support Cumbrian rural farming communities.

Original plans for the launch of the fund got derailed by Storm Emma aka The beast from the East. As reports came in of the devastating impact it had wreaked on farms across the county, herdy founders Spencer and Diane Hannah agreed with Andy Beeforth OBE, who is CEO of the Foundation, that the priority should be to help the farmers who had been hardest hit. herdy put in a pot of £10,000 and CCF matched it to create a relief programme for the farmers affected. The programme finished on Thursday 15 May, having received applications from some 80 farmers.

Adam Day from the Farmer Network helped distribute the funds amongst the farmers. He said the farmers had appreciated the help from the fund but perhaps the most special thing about it to them, was to know that other people actually cared.

Spencer Hannah of herdy co-founder said: “We recently visited two of the farmers to listen to their experience of the storm. Cumbrian farmers are nothing if not resilient, quite capable of surviving most things but even they could not compete with the 127mph winds and 15ft snow drifts.

“We recognise that whilst our region’s countryside and heritage is admired worldwide; the fell farmers and rural communities who manage and maintain our cultural landscape can sometimes be ‘unseen’.

“Our plans for the herdyfund don’t just include providing funding for dealing with tough situations. We’re working on ideas for this year and beyond where we can come together to interact, share and inspire each other as we have done for the last eleven years.

“The herdyfund always has, and will continue to work with and alongside our upland fell farmers and rural communities to create a sustainable future. We’re proud of what has been achieved since the beginning but even more hopeful about what lies ahead. In particular, we are delighted to be working with Cumbria Community Foundation, we are confident it will enable the herdyfund to reach its true potential.”

Andy Beeforth OBE of the Cumbria Community Foundation said: “We’re pleased to be working with herdy to help manage their fund, which will have a positive long-term impact and will provide support at a very local level to help improve the quality of life for people in our rural communities.”

Herdy makes colourful design-led home and giftware items based on the local hardy Herdwick sheep. The company has received numerous awards for their sustainable approach over the years, including; the Business in the Community Award from the Prince of Wales in 2010 and just this month Spencer Hannah was a finalist at the Institute of Directors Award for Corporate Social Responsibility.

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