Two YFC county clubs have been awarded the Queens Voluntary Service Award for their outstanding work in the community.
Members of the Shropshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs and Staffordshire YFC have been awarded the Queens Voluntary Service Award for their outstanding work in the community.
The award, one of the most prestigious acknowledgements to local volunteer groups across the UK, will be formally presented by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire, Sir Algernon Heber- Percy, at an event later in the summer.
Shropshire FYFC was nominated for the award by Christine Holmes, a recent former High Sheriff of Shropshire, after she visited the Young Farmers’ Marquee at the Shropshire County Show and was impressed by the members and their achievements.
Shropshire’s ongoing work to combat rural isolation through their YFCs, their annual rally, the chairman’s ball and raising money for charity are just some of the achievements which led to their award.
The county show is a particular highlight where members run their own marquee and participate in more than 40 classes and competitions.
The Young Farmers marquee was packed with hundreds of entries to this year’s ‘Ireland’ theme. Features included flower arrangements depicting islands, Irish food items such as potato, bread, and Irish bunting. Shropshire county chairman Rebecca Green, from Brown Clee YFC, says: “We are absolutely thrilled to receive this award. We are a volunteer organisation, run for young people by young people, which affords opportunities and champions rural life, enhancing the community for all.”
There are more than 1,000 members in Shropshire who are spread among their 18 YFCs. Always keen to support their local community, members have also been involved in NFYFC’s Countryside Challenge after the national office received funding from the Cabinet Office and Pears Foundation to progress community projects.
Just one full-time and two parttime individuals are employed in the Staffordshire county, which welcomes 980 volunteers who provide an extensive range of social and personal development activities for members. Their Staffordshire County Show theme was ‘Cities around the World’ and members constructed creative floats demonstrating iconic landmarks from around the world.
This competition, which is one of the most popular run by Staffordshire Young Farmers, draws the largest crowd to the main ring when the floats, which have been worked on for many months, take to the parade.
They achieve this through interclub competitions, quality training sessions and social occasions such as the annual ball, trips and visits and a two-day presence at the annual Staffordshire County Show.
Jeremy Lowe, NFU Staffordshire adviser who nominated the county, said: “The personal development of the individual members is outstanding, many of whom join as shy or withdrawn individuals who develop into confident young people who are able to make a significant community contribution and go on to be successful.”
The county programmes include a focus on leadership, assertiveness and financial management along with alcohol and drugs awareness and safe use of social media. It also makes a significant contribution to local charities, which totalled more than £18,000 in 2015/2016.
It is estimated in its lifetime to have raised almost £1 million. County organiser Julia Taylor believes working collaboratively with members has helped give them a sense of ownership within the movement across the region.
She says: “Members are encouraged to make suggestions for improvement through the tiered committee structure.”
Annual awards are presented at the public AGM and all competitors are given advice and guidance has to how they can achieve more next time around, a key element of individual and club improvement.