A major fundraising effort has been launched in a bid to plug a £1 million black hole in Young Farmers Clubs’ coffers
Few organisations have been immune from the impact of Covid-19, but the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) believes some of its county federations will not be able to survive without a substantial cash injection.
The pandemic forced the cancellation of various fundraising events, while membership revenue has also taken a hit.
Ahead of National Young Farmers’ Week starting on October 26, NFYFC has signalled a year-long fundraising drive, kicking off with the ‘Give it Some YFC Welly’ relay, where YFC members will be asked to travel the distance between the clubs in their county and then pass a virtual welly on to another county federation.
NFYFC president and renowned rugby referee Nigel Owens said: "Young Farmers’ Clubs are incredibly important in rural areas – helping young people make social connections, learn new skills and support their rural communities. We must do all we can to ensure this vital youth service can continue.”
County federations have lost nearly £700,000 in income since the onset of the pandemic in March, with the total loss for the organisation now standing at about £1m.
Lockdown restrictions forced clubs to stop physical club meetings and competitions in March this year – the first time since the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001.
During the lockdown, NFYFC launched YFC at Home to support clubs to move their activities online but the usual income from rallies, competitions and fundraising events was lost.
A drop in membership numbers because activities were unable to resume also impacted on the usual income for counties, clubs and the national office.
While clubs are now able to meet again under National Youth Agency guidance (15 club members and two leaders), the ongoing restrictions and uncertainty mean the YFC programme has been adapted for 2020-21.
NFYFC Chairman Dewi Parry said: “Covid-19 has taken away so much from our lives, and rural young people who live in remote locations have been forced into even greater levels of isolation by the ongoing restrictions.
“It is so good for YFCs to be meeting again but it is going to be a long road to complete recovery where we are all competing in large groups and enjoying time together again.”
To support the campaign visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/saveyoungfarmers