The Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) has restructured its approach to linking schools with food and farming, after Covid-19 forced the cancellation of its major shows and events.
Established as part of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), the charity has 12 countryside initiatives across Scotland, which aim to connect young people with agriculture through free farm visits, events and classroom talks.
But with the organisation operating at a likely £6.3 million loss of income this year due to the cancellation of the Royal Highland show, the events based charity has since shifted its focus to online learning and interaction.
The move also saw the termination of the charity’s regionally contracted project coordinators’ contracts, who had previously been responsible for overseeing volunteer-led farm visits and events.
Speaking on behalf of RHET, Judith O’Leary said: “The majority of the charity’s work with primary and secondary schools is centred around events and, at the moment, the contracts of the project coordinators who organise these events cannot be renewed because we cannot justify this investment.
“RHET has therefore had to pivot its approach and it has been extremely active in utilising the website to upload educational online tutorials for children.
“The charity will also be circulating a range of virtual educational activities on June 18 and 19, to help keep young people connected with farming and the countryside.”
Ms O’Leary reinforced the charity’s work would follow the advice of Scottish Government, which claimed children would be reinstated in schools early August.
She added: “As soon as children are able to attend school, our project coordinators can be reinstated to continue RHET’s valuable events work but it is important to remember that it is an extremely uncertain time.”