The Cumbria Farmer Network team avidly watched BBC2’s This Farming Life, broadcast on Tuesday evening. The programme featured two young Cumbrian farmers whose early careers were supported by The Farmer Network’s “Farming Ambition – Business Support for Young People Programme”.
The Network has been running this project for several years originally with funding from The Prince’s Trust and Prince’s Countryside Fund and latterly four local organisations and charities. The business support programme helps young people in farming who want to build their own agri- related business. It provides advice, mentoring and where needed, financial support through grants and loans.
Matty Blair and his wife Danni were filmed moving to Thrimby Grange Farm near Penrith, where they achieved a huge ambition by taking on a farm business tenancy. Matty took part in the scheme during 2012 and says,
“For anyone with farming ambition, my advice is to crack- on and go for it, you’ve nothing to lose. Through the support programme we were able to surround ourselves with positive people and listen to the right advice. Having the right network of people has been so important”.
Next week’s programme will feature Georgia Hunter from Piper Hole, Ravenstonedale who works with her father Frank. In a bid to diversify she had a dream to set up her own goat farming enterprise. Seeking support from the Farmer Network in 2013, Georgia went on to achieve her ambition, setting up her own goat meat business which continues to go from strength to strength, supplying shops, restaurants, farmers markets, and other businesses. She says,
“I was only 18 when I joined the programme. The business advice and mentoring I received gave me so much confidence to set up my own business. I would advise any young person with a farming ambition to join the programme. It really is a great opportunity”.
Kate Gascoyne has led the Farming Ambition Programme for several years on behalf of the Farmer Network and is very proud of Matty and Georgia saying, “They are shining examples of what can be achieved by young people in farming, with the right attitude, hard-work and the right support.
Any young people with farming ambitions in Cumbria and The Yorkshire Dales can contact Kate for more information on the Farmer Network’s Farming Ambition – Business Support for Young People Programme by calling her 01768 868615 or emailing [email protected]