YRSN Annual Report 2015 - Yorkshire Agricultural Society
Annual Report 2015
The Network has had another busy year. Once again, network members have shown how much can
be achieved with a bit of teamwork and collaboration and a positive attitude. We very much hope that
this year’s report demonstrates and reflects on some excellent outcomes for those we seek to support
in our farming and rural communities within Yorkshire.
Welcome to our annual update giving us the opportunity to showcase the wonderful work of our partner
organisations and highlight the vital role that the Network plays in bringing members together in very
practical ways to be able to offer cohesive support to those in need in our rural areas, specifically
focusing on people in land-based industries.
In the last year we have continued our work with Yorkshire colleges to encourage young
people to see agriculture and horticulture as exciting career opportunities; offered
inspiration to women involved with farming through our increasingly popular lunch
events with fantastic speakers giving insight into their enterprises; continued our work
to promote greater health awareness for farmers and through our regular exchange of
vital updates we have ensured that people involved in various organisations are aware
of other schemes available to ensure a joint approach in offering support to people in
difficulties or simply looking at potential opportunities.
Finally, as the Network brings together many rural support organisations, we are able to
offer a collective voice and work with the Yorkshire Food, Farming and Rural Network to
help inform and influence pilot schemes and policy for the future.
I was personally delighted to see Leslie Morley presented with his Yorkshire Agricultural
Society and RABI Award for outstanding service to the rural community at this year’s
Great Yorkshire Show. As ever we are indebted to the Society for their support and
appreciation of the value of our efforts as a Network.
Calendar of Network Meetings for 2015
Our Network Meetings are held at the Regional Agricultural Centre, by kind permission of The
Yorkshire Agricultural Society and give members a valuable opportunity to meet up and share
information as well as hearing from organisations who link with the work of our own members.
Positive connections are always made at each meeting.
Tuesday 3rd February 2015
In the light of continuing budget cuts and diminishing
services, Rose Regeneration (Ivan Annibal and Jessica Sellick)
gave their take on the implications with a presentation
entitled ‘Bucolica – Measuring and Managing the rural idyll’.
Monday 11th May 2015
Network members wanted to establish how NYCC were
planning to address budget cuts to rural areas and invited
Marie-Ann Jackson, Head of Stronger Communities at
NYCC to outline their proposals.
Tuesday – Thursday 14th to 16th July 2015
Several Network members were in action at
The Great Yorkshire Show.
Tuesday 29th September 2015
A light buffet lunch will precede the presentation of Network
Annual Report and an update on the new role of the
Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s Charitable Activities Manager
and network member, Liz Hudson.
The Network will hold their final meeting of the year
in November 2015. (date tba)
Get Mentoring in Farming was
developed to help those working in the
farming and agriculture sector across
the country to mentor each other.
The aim was to train 300 Mentors UK wide and
the training could be carried out online or in
groups at various venues around the country.
We tailored our training around a bank of
existing mentors who had helped to support start
up and fledgling businesses in Yorkshire over the
recent past. We are pleased to have enjoyed a
number of matches over the past year. With the
benefits of modern technologies, it is easier for
people to communicate effectively without the
need to travel, although there are times when a
face to face meeting is still important.
The Mentoring help is free of charge and details
of the time commitments have to be brokered
between the Mentor and the client. Because
we know both Mentors and clients, we are well
placed to advise on suitable matches.
Initial requests should be directed to The Network
Coordinator, Kate Dale at [email protected]
The Yorkshire Rural Support Network was
delighted to start 2015 by taking an active
part in the planning and preparations
for the Annual Plough Service at Ripon
Cathedral in January 2015.
Rural Health Event
at Askham Bryan
College, York in
This event was a collaboration between the
Yorkshire Farming Help Charities and The
Yorkshire Rural Support Network with support
from The Yorkshire Agricultural Society
and Northern Farmer which endorses their
continuing commitment for farming and rural
communities in the region. NYCC Public Health
personnel are taking the opportunity to promote
their free NHS health checks which are vital in
the early detection of life threatening conditions.
The aim was to facilitate mutual understanding between
health professionals and the rural voluntary sector in the
work of supporting vulnerable people in the rural community.
The Yorkshire group of Farming Community Network
volunteers had experience of trying to support the family of a
member of the farming community who made a number of
suicide attempts. FCN volunteers found themselves unaware
of the networks, process and relationships within the NHS
Mental Services and of how to engage positively with them.
It also appears that the NHS professionals were not aware of
the support available from the voluntary sector, nor how to
draw on it.
The event had speakers from the health professions who
described how they work, what resources they could offer
and how to access them. Those from the voluntary sector
were invited to do the same. There was a speaker panel with
an opportunity to discuss the issues raised and to explore
the possibilities and limitations of co-operation between the
voluntary and professional sectors.
The target audience was representatives from rural voluntary
and charities together with any health professionals with a
rural health remit.
This important event enabled several network
members, including Farming Help, TFA, NFU, CLA,
Rural Action Yorkshire and Deliciouslyorkshire, to
promote and highlight their organisations in an
exhibition in the days running up to the service.
Visitors enjoyed locally produced pulled pork
sandwiches prior to the service with time to look at
the exhibition and make new contacts.
Speakers included Professor Steve Robertson of Leeds Beckett
University who set the scene on rural men’s health and
mental health, Howard Petch CBE, who outlined the work of
the Farming Help Charities, giving some real life scenarios to
the audience, Malcolm Ashman of The Northallerton mental
health support charity, Andrea Hobbs, CO of Hambleton &
Richmondshire Carers and Lorraine Bone, Clinical lead for
community services in Hambleton & Richmondshire locality.
The service itself involved speakers and readers from
the NFU (Laurie Norris) CLA (Dorothy Fairburn) and
Young Farmers from within the Diocese. Sir Don
Curry CBE joined us from Northumberland as the
The event, which attracted over 60 people, provided the
opportunity to raise awareness of some of the more hidden
mental health issues in rural areas and highlighted where
and how help could be accessed.
Farming Ladder Update
The Network continues to promote the concept of ‘the
Farming Ladder’ to the land based Colleges within the
Yorkshire area. In conjunction with Askham Bryan College
and Wigfield Farm (part of Barnsley college), we were
delighted to facilitate two ‘tailor made’ events:
Thursday 23rd April – A farm diary session for agriculture students at Askham Bryan College with speakers from The Future
Farmers of Yorkshire Group, Richard Pennock who is the Manager for Sir Ken Morrison at Myton Hall Farms and a Nuffield
Scholar (sponsored by The Yorkshire Agricultural Society) who travelled to Australia, Brazil and North America to study beef
production. The second speaker was Natalie Moore, a smallholder with enormous determination to succeed in farming and
a grain trader for Isaac Poad. The speakers provided an excellent insight into their personal journey from their background,
through to education, further education, experience, employment and aspirations for the future, with some very helpful tips
about how best to demonstrate your ability to continue learning and respect the views and actions of others.
Friday 24th April - A Tutorial Day for students was held at Wigfield Farm (part of Barnsley College) and included presenters
Heather Copley, Co-Director of Farmer Copley’s Farmshop, nr. Pontefract, Ann Hanson, an independent environmental
consultant, Peter Clegg, The Education activities manager at Wentworth Castle and Gardens, Jonathan Charlesworth, a
farmer and farm business consultant, Nikki Harrison from Pets at home and Graham Coultish, a farm manager. All the
presenters gave students an overview of a ‘day in the life of’ as well as explaining the joys and challenges of their respective
jobs. They also talked about what qualities they would look for when employing staff, offering students excellent tips for
making job applications and attending interviews.
Network connections and outcomes:
These mini farming ladder events help to promote our Future Farmers of Yorkshire Group and the Nuffield Scholarships to
the colleges and demonstrate a good level of support for our younger generation through all the Charitable activities on offer
through The Yorkshire Agricultural Society. Students from Wigfield Farm came to the Careers in Focus event at The Great
Yorkshire Showground in October 2014 and Barnsley College also decided to have a stand at the event in order to promote
their full range of courses on offer in South Yorkshire.
Women in Farming Network
We have continued our informal networking
events for women in farming with an event
in March 2015 at Sandburn Hall where we
were sponsored by Pearson Ward Solicitors
(Malton) and enjoyed a fantastic presentation
from Rachel Jamieson of the Little Red Berry Company
based near Ripon in North Yorkshire. Rachel has worked
extremely hard to develop her business since 2009 and
is making real progress with sales by attending shows
and festivals and selling to farmshops, delis, independent
outlets and online. We have another event planned for
Thursday 26th November at Sandburn Hall and have
secured generous sponsorship from Savills.
For the first time this year, we have used these networking
events to promote other relevant and appropriate events and
support mechanisms for all those attending.
Women in Farming event with Barclays,
Coles Solicitors and RABI.
After the success of last year’s event in conjunction with
Barclays and RABI, we are holding another bigger event
on Wednesday 7th October 2015 at Pavilions of Harrogate
from 11am to 2.30pm including a buffet lunch. The focus
of this event will be ‘The public face of farming – pathways
to progress’ and will explore how we interact and engage
with and informally ‘educate’ the wider public about food,
farming and the countryside.
Network connections and outcomes:
Because of our links with Julie Dodsworth at one of our
events, she went on to promote her business to a wide
audience at the Fashion Show at the Great Yorkshire Show in
2014 with her design collaboration with Barbour. Julie’s is a
great Yorkshire success story and she sells her huge variety of
designs on products worldwide.
Jill Smith of Binnington Blooms and a member of the
Flowers from the farm cooperative joined us as a speaker
in November 2014 and their organisation came to the
attention of Network member Andy Ryland who in turn linked
up with the cooperative who put on a fantastic display of
British flowers on The Church on Show stand at The Great
Yorkshire Show. The ladies also made and sold buttonhole
arrangements in the flower hall and scooped the public’s
choice prize for the best stand in the flower show. We also
hear that the cooperative’s talents have been mentioned at
We have enjoyed working with some Yorkshire Farmstay
ladies to promote some of their fundraising efforts and were
pleased facilitate some social media training at The Regional
Agricultural Centre. We like to think we have helped to raise
the awareness of some great Yorkshire businesses through
these events. Many women have enjoyed the networking
aspect of these events and have made their own new contacts
and business connections as well as making new friends!
Women really are excellent networkers!
Helpline: 0300 111999
February of 2015 marked a turning point in our Yorkshire
group as our Chairman, Howard Petch CBE stepped
down though remaining as a key volunteer after 15
years of selfless service to farming families in Yorkshire.
Howard set up the group and gathered volunteers during
2000 before the foot and mouth crisis began in 2001 to
support Yorkshire farmers and how fortuitous this was.
Since then the group has consolidated and grown to perform a vital role to the farming community throughout Yorkshire and
service to individuals experiencing a tough time. Unfortunately 2015 is proving one of those tough times with the new Basic
Payment and Environmental schemes changing and causing uncertainty and hardship already in farming budgets and bank
balances. Whether dairy, arable, beef, pigs and poultry as well as lamb, every sector has been affected by low prices through
UK and global situations beyond our farmer’s control and principally led by trade and political conditions. Though the
banking sector is broadly supportive, those vulnerable businesses which tend to be the tenanted and upland farms especially
with current poor lamb prices are feeling the pinch. Added with any other problem within the family or the business this toxic
mix can cause serious hardship. There is no doubt the helpline and our own volunteers in the North will be more needed
than ever as the autumn draws near.
Our new chairman is Graham Lilley who has soon settled in to provide practical help both to farming families through his
agricultural banking expertise in his working life and support to our group as a whole.
We were delighted to see our own Rev Canon Leslie Morley recognised by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and the Royal
Agricultural Benevolent Society (RABI) at the Great Yorkshire Show in July. Leslie was awarded with this prestigious trophy for
his long service as Rural Chaplain in the former Ripon and Leeds Diocese, Chaplain to YAS, FCN and so much more.
Our partnerships with RABI, Addington and YRSN and other organisations are more important than ever before with so many
social and economic issues to face but which we face together in our common aim to support our Yorkshire farming people.
We are all cognisant of the fact that we must pull together to make a difference and ensure that our farmers can weather this
particular storm and provide a sound future for the bright young people so keen to make their mark in farming for the future.
Moors and Dales T: 01609 766320
Community Connect Service
(supported by Landrover to 2019)
This service can support anyone over 18 and the aim is to build confidence in individuals and help
isolated communities become more viable and resilient. Following an initial assessment by one of
the co-ordinators where they discuss with the service user what they would hope to achieve during
the 12 weeks of support, one of our volunteers is allocated to provide individual support.
To date, we have 16 volunteers and the feedback from service users is that these wonderful volunteers are really making a
difference to people’s lives. Already we have had contact with 91 service users and referrals are coming from many different
sources. Intermediate care teams and community nurses are the largest group of referers.
Most of our volunteers live in the Dales so recruiting volunteers in the Moors continues to be a challenge as we only have one
very busy volunteer here. However she is soon to be joined with a further two volunteers who are currently in training and
hopefully with our advertising we will have further interest.
We work closely with FCN and in May held a joint ladies evening event at Beadlam Grange Farmshop (by kind permission of
the Rooke family), where Red Cross hand, arm and shoulder massage was provided. This was a very enjoyable event and
one that proved very useful to us as it sparked an interest in the service by one lady who is now one of our new volunteers.
We remain very positive that the right people are out there! We just need your help to find them!
If we needed reminding that there is a real need for our service, which we try to tailor to the individual needs of our service
users, then one fairly recent case spells this out:
A wife who was caring for her terminally ill husband in an isolated area needed support. She had tried other organisations
and due to the location, the other groups had either said; they could not go at all, not very often, or in one case that it would
be quite a long time before they could provide support. Our co-ordinator visited them on 15th June and allocated a volunteer
who visited 3 times after that and sat with the husband allowing the wife to go shopping or take the dog for a walk to give her
a much needed break from her caring role. The gentleman sadly died on 30th June.
We appreciate all the support The Yorkshire Rural Support Network has provided in helping spread the word about our service
and to flag up that we are looking for additional volunteers, especially in the Moors area.
Tenant Farmers Association
The TFA continues to support and advise tenant farmers
from across England and Wales.
At the start of 2015 the TFA launched it’s FBT10+ campaign to highlight the fact that the average length of a Farm Business
Tenancy (FBTs) in England and Wales is less than four years. A successful Twitter debate hosted by AgriChatUK was held,
followed by a debate held in the House of Lords.
On 01 September 2015, the 20th anniversary of the coming into force of the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 which ushered
in FBTs, a conference was held on the future of Farm Business Tenancies with a wide range of speakers.
The TFA wants average lengths of term on FBTs to be 10 years or more and believes that only those landlords who are letting
for longer than 10 years should be able to gain 100% relief from Inheritance Tax. Those landlords who do let for 10 years
or more should be able to declare their income as if it was trading income for taxation purposes and provide those landlords
with easier mechanisms to end tenancies where the tenant is in breach of the terms of the agreement or where the landlords
have the opportunity of development – subject to proper compensation to the departing tenant.
For more information about the TFA go to www.tfa.org.uk, call 0118 930 6130 or email [email protected]
Country Land &
T: 01748 907070
Volatility has been the farming industry’s defining feature of late. As commodity prices continue
to fluctuate wildly, many farmers in the region are struggling to stay in business. Nowhere is this
more evident than the dairy sector. The CLA is part of a working group of farming organisations
representing the dairy sector looking at areas where we can work collaboratively to support the
Over the past 12 months, the CLA has racked up some important lobbying victories aimed at bolstering the region’s rural
economy. From helping to reform an archaic planning system through to improving tenancy rules and introducing new
laws to tackle the fly grazing of horses, we have been active on a number of fronts.
Following the General Election, the CLA is now urging new and returning MPs to get out and meet with farmers, land and
rural business owners. Our research shows that 54,000 rural businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber are responsible for
outputting a massive £17 billion worth of goods and services, while employing more than 400,000 people.
We have provided all rural MPs in the North with constituency by constituency data on the economic contribution of
the rural businesses they represent. The cards, which the CLA wants to see pinned to notice boards in the House of
Parliament, set out three clear asks:
• To champion a genuinely universal broadband service
• To end discrimination against small, rural and family businesses in the tax system
• To ensure all business policies support rural growth.
Helpline: 0300 303 7373
The work of the Royal Agricultural
Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I) in 2015
A six-monthly report from January 1 to June 30
In the first six months of 2015, R.A.B.I has given out grants of £870,372 and helped 1,128 beneficiaries.
The six counties that have received the most support to date are: North Yorkshire, £60,573; Devon, £45,256; Norfolk,
£45,169; Shropshire, £42,379; Suffolk, £40,981 and Cornwall, £37,664.
Total grants paid to working farmers so far amount to £107, 139 – which represents a 47% drop on the £201, 385 paid to
working farmers for the same six-monthly period in 2014.
Housing problems and rent arrears have been key concerns this year, with many people affected by changes to local housing
allowances and the ‘bedroom tax’, living under the threat of being made homeless. R.A.B.I welfare officers have been kept
busy helping people to claim the benefits they are entitled to, often dealing with time-consuming appeals. Council budget cuts
have impacted on services elsewhere too, meaning charities like R.A.B.I are being asked to fill the gaps.
Another key concern for R.A.B.I this year has been general debt problems, with many people finding it harder to budget when
on low incomes. R.A.B.I has received many enquiries from people due to relationship breakdowns – not just marriages, but
increasingly partnerships and the breakdown of relationships between other family members.
Farm accidents, unexpected deaths, serious illnesses such as cancer, neurological diseases, strokes and heart disease,
conditions causing pain and poor mobility (such as arthritis and back conditions), mental illness and loneliness are other
reasons why many people have sought R.A.B.I’s help in 2015.
Looking ahead to the second half of 2015, the welfare department does not anticipate a big increase in enquiries from older
people, or those who are ill/disabled and cannot work.
Trish Pickford, head of R.A.B.I’s welfare department, said: “These figures have remained fairly steady over the past few years.
Although new applications keep coming in, sadly, we also see quite a few deaths each year as well as suspensions – where
a person’s situation has improved, very often due to the increase in state benefits we have obtained for them. This keeps the
figures fairly balanced.
“As far as working farmers are concerned it’s been impossible to predict numbers, due to the nature of the help we give. We
help working farmers who are experiencing emergency situations that could not have been foreseen or planned for, but we
are always prepared to expect the unexpected.”
Network member, Sally Conner, comments that ‘RABI continues to have a lot of support in Yorkshire with members of
the farming community as well as the public raising money for us and attending our events. We are very grateful to the
Yorkshire Agricultural Society for their continuing support. We had a fantastic time at the Great Yorkshire Show, with lots
of visitors to our stand including some existing beneficiaries as well as potential new ones. Thanks also to farmer Frank
Chislett who brought his vintage car along which proved to be a great attraction!’
Perennial is the UK’s only charity providing support for 176 years,
helping people working in or retired from horticulture. We provide
a free confidential one stop service with experienced Welfare Rights
and Debt Advisors throughout the UK, working with clients until the
best outcome available is achieved-not time limited.
In the last 12months we have been particularly busy 95% of all new clients were visited in their homes within 10 working
days and nearly £1.5 Million in financial support was obtained for clients.
Funds are raised through our garden at Yorkgate at Adel, just outside Leeds, which has recently had significant work and
now has a tea room and training facilities. Also ‘Go Green with Hort Aid’ with An Audience with Perennial’s president
Alan Titchmarsh and raising funds at the Harrogate Flower show with Jim Buttress from the BBC’s Allotment Challenge
and also a firm Perennial supporter and RHS judge.
Web: www.perennial.org.uk • Email: [email protected]
General Advice Line: 0800 093 8543 • Debt Advice: 0800 093 8546
Future Farmers of Yorkshire (FFY) is going from strength to
strength, with a membership now exceeding 650. The year
has been full of memorable meetings and visits. There have
been trips to the British Wool Marketing Board HQ in Bradford,
a potato supply chain visit hosted by JN Sykes & Sons and
Ibbotsons Ltd and a farm tour with Richard Bramley, from
Kelfied, winner of the 2014 Tye Trophy Award for conservation in
a commercial farming enterprise.
Members continue to state that Succession planning is a challenge and an evening meeting was dedicated to the subject.
We were delighted that succession expert Sian Bushell was able to join us, helping all generations to negotiate their way
around the sensitive issues that family businesses face.
In the New Year FFY hosted ’The Big Debate’ and our panellists included Lord de Mauley, from Defra, and Allan Wilkinson,
from HSBC. The topic for debate was ‘Can agriculture continue to take money from the public purse?”
Most recently there were well over 100 attendees at the Great Yorkshire Show breakfast meeting. It was great to hear from
two young future farmers, Davina Fillingham and Emily Field. NFU President Meurig Raymond also addressed the meeting
and gave an excellent account of his own background and entry into farming.
FFY is fortunate to have a strong management team who continue to provide direction for the group, with support from
YAS. To find out more please contact [email protected] or check out Twitter and Facebook.
Over the last few years, the charitable activities of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society have grown considerably and now
cover a range of areas which support and promote agriculture, rural and allied industries throughout the North of England,
including championing the role of farmers as providers of high quality produce and encouraging consumers to chose
healthy and local produce. These various strands have now been brought together to form a new Charitable Activities team
and, over the coming months, there will be a review of current activities, to assess their strengths and weaknesses. There
will be discussions, both internally and externally, to inform the role the Society could, and should, play in the future.
If you have any views on the Society’s current charitable activities and suggestions for future work, please
feel free to get in touch with Liz Hudson at [email protected]
Addington continues to support three farming families in Yorkshire
through our Strategic Rural Housing Scheme and housing for the
tenanted farmer, who has to leave their holding, remains our core work.
We continue to meet many farming families who had planned for their retirement and saved a considerable amount of money
from often a quite modest acreage. They always thought that they would be able to purchase a property in the village; what
they could not have seen coming was the way the property market has escalated in the last two decades.
The Addington Fund’s Strategic Rural Housing Scheme can help in situations like this, by
offering people with insufficient capital to purchase a home outright, a ‘shared equity’
arrangement, where rent is only payable on the part of the house which Addington
owns. It is so popular that sixty percent of our families are in such an arrangement.
Each parties share is represented as a percentage of ownership, and with the uplift in
property prices, means that their investment is not only putting a secure roof over their
heads, it should also increase in value for the future of them and any family. When
the time comes and the house is no longer needed, it is sold with the proceeds being
returned to both parties in the arrangement. Addington’s share of equity can then be
used to help future farming people in the same situations.
More details can be found at www.addingtonfund.org.uk or by emailing us: [email protected]
We are a charity working with communities across Yorkshire to
improve the quality of life for the people who live and work there.
We provide a voice for rural communities to ensure they receive
access to services that will keep them vibrant and viable in the future.
The Communities Team believe in promoting equality, respect and wellbeing in rural communities, to enable them to
thrive. We do this three ways; an Information Service for informed and empowered members, Rural Community Hubs for
the health and prospects of a community and Community Led Planning projects to engage and provide opportunities to
influence. Membership is available at an annual fee.
www.ruralyorkshire.org.uk • 0845 3130270
The Aims of the Network are promoting the wellbeing of those who live in
farming and rural communities, through our network members by:
• Supporting members in the delivery of services
• Bringing network members together to exchange
resources, contacts and information
• Encouraging a positive attitude to periods of change
to reduce the level of distress
For further information and enquiries, please get in touch with our
Coordinator, Kate Dale, using the contact details below:
YORKSHIRE RURAL SUPPORT NETWORK
Regional Agricultural Centre
Great Yorkshire Showground
T: 01423 546217
T: 07912 495604
E: [email protected]
Follow our Meetings and events at: