King Charles has long been a supporter of environmental charities, and during his time as a Prince he used his position to spearhead numerous initiatives for the planet. One of these was a charity called The Prince’s Countryside Fund, which he established in 2010 with the aim of empowering British farming businesses and rural communities in the face of social, economic and environmental change.
The Royal Countryside Fund: The King’s Farming Charity Has Had A Royal Renaming
Following King Charles’ coronation, the charity is embarking on a new chapter, rebranding as The Royal Countryside Fund. This is the first of His Majesty’s charities to rebrand since he became King – ensuring, as he said in his accession speech, that the ‘important work’ carried out by the charities he had long championed ‘will go on in the trusted hands of others’.
The ultimate aim of The Royal Countryside Fund is to build a sustainable future for the British countryside. It was set up to help rural families who were struggling with falling incomes, a loss of local services and amenities, rising costs for farmers and increased mental health issues. Since launching, the charity has supported over 2,500 small farming businesses, and been awarded £11.2m in grants to help improve rural lives across the UK.
Heather Hancock, Chair of Trustees at The Royal Countryside Fund, said: ‘This is a truly significant moment for our charity, setting us up for a long and successful future with a Royal renaming that embodies our special heritage.
‘As our longest serving heir to the throne, King Charles played a unique role as an enabler and catalyst in many areas of public life. In doing so, his empathy and respect for farming and the countryside have always stood out. People in the countryside have long valued His Majesty’s support and championing for the challenges they face, and The Prince’s Countryside Fund has given this tangible expression.’
Initiatives so far have included offering skills training to family farms across the UK, strengthening farm support groups, raising funds and generally bringing people together to help tackle climate change issues.
You can get a glimpse into how the charity is helping the farming world in a new six-part series produced by Violet Manners, who has interviewed six farmers who the charity has supported over the years.
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‘Through creating this series, our aim was to showcase the brilliance of these farmers and the extraordinary foresight of our now King, who set the charity up in 2010,’ said Manners. ‘It’s so crucial to have the King of our country behind farming in the way that he is and always has been and I know after asking them all, it means a lot to them that they have his backing. They quietly play the role of custodians of the land, providing for all of us with their produce. They deserve recognition and support as they navigate the changes ahead and continue their crucial work for the well-being of our country and its people.
‘In my view, farmers are the unsung heroes of our country,’ Manners added. ‘Despite the major changes on the horizon, including shifts in farming practices and the use of pesticides, there’s hope for more sustainable and productive methods. Farmers need to be well-informed and adaptable on this journey to a more sustainable future, and The Royal Countryside Fund’s workshops play a pivotal role in providing them with the necessary knowledge.’ Watch out for the series on the charity’s Instagram.
Find out more about The Royal Countryside Fund here