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The Prince’s Countryside Fund awards three emergency grants to rural communities across Cumbria

HRH The Prince of Wales

The Prince’s Countryside Fund has awarded three emergency grants to farming and rural community support groups across Cumbria who are providing assistance to counter the effects of isolation during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The successful applicants are tackling Covid-19 in a number of ways – from grocery, hot meal, and prescription delivery in remote areas, to setting up community shops and food banks, or providing business support tailored for rural and farm businesses.

The beneficiaries include Northern Fells Rural Community Development Group, who are offering a range of support from practical support such as shopping and dog walk to emotional support; Ambleside Parish Centre, who are providing hot meals to vulnerable people in the community and Susan’s Farm CIO, who are offering telephone support to their regular beneficiaries as well as hot meals to those most vulnerable.

The Fund received nearly 300 applications for assistance, and thanks to generosity of its corporate partners, players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the Royal Warrant Holders Association Charitable Trust, and the Barbour Foundation, were able to release £120,963 in funding to 62 projects, benefitting people living and working in rural areas.

Founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2010, the Fund’s mission is to help ensure a vibrant rural economy with a thriving and resilient farming sector at its heart, and its grant programme is a major focus of activity to achieve this. The Prince’s Countryside Fund awards grants to local organisations, and since 2010 has distributed over £10 million in funding.

Northern Fells Group said: “We are delighted to have secured this emergency funding in such an unprecedented and busy time. We have worked incessantly to recruit over 170 new volunteers, to publicise their availability to offer help to our community and to match volunteers with tasks and older, more vulnerable people to help them with self isolation and lock down. The volunteers are a lifeline to our users, many of whom are elderly and live alone in isolated households in the northern fells area. The funding will enable us to coordinate and support our valuable volunteers to enable them to offer practical help and support to our community.”

Announcing the grant recipients, Claire Saunders, Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said: “These small rural organisations are the lifeblood of many far-flung communities. They have adapted to provide unprecedented support to rural people, quickly, and efficiently, with the help of a dedicated army of local volunteers. We are so grateful to all our sponsors, who by supporting The Prince’s Countryside Fund, have enabled the provision of these Rural Response Emergency Grants during this crisis.”

More details can be found at www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk/grants.

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