Just days after his latest visit to Cumbria, it’s been revealed that the Prince of Wales has given a personal donation of £10,000 to help set up a community support fund in the county. The money was pledged last year after the prince heard about the issues facing the farming community in Roadhead in northern Cumbria. And now one of the famers who helps run the fund has revealed the prince’s gesture and praised him for his work to help the rural community in Cumbria.
Steven Pattinson spoke to The Cumberland News about the donation and described the ‘surreal’ moment the prince got involved. He said that Charles paid a private visit to his land, where he farms beef, dairy and sheep, to talk about the problems facing the rural community in Cumbria. He sat at the family’s kitchen table drinking tea and heard more about the issues that hit farmers in the county. After the visit, Mr Pattinson was told that Prince Charles would be giving £10,000 of his own money to help start the community fund and he said he was ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘still can’t believe it’.
The Prince of Wales has shown a deep concern for problems affecting rural communities in Cumbria where some farmers earn just £6,000 a year – below the minimum wage. On his latest visit to the county, on Wednesday, Prince Charles spent time chatting with farmers and shepherds and heard about ongoing issues like broadband provision in rural areas and the impact that can have on the economy and job creation. He toured a photographic exhibition celebrating Herdwick sheep farming and paid a visit to the Westmorland Agricultural Society Centre to talk to local employers and food producers. And he also heard about the work of two organisations which he helped establish which are working to support the rural community.
One is the Prince’s Foundation which he set up in 2010 and which gives grants to support those who care for the countryside – it has since distributed £4.4 million across the UK and helped around 80,000 people. The other, also established in 2010, is the Campaign for Wool which began partly to help sheep farmers get a fair price for the fleeces from their flocks.
This latest personal donation underlines the ongoing interest that Charles has in farming in Cumbria. The prince has said before that the countryside we all enjoy is the work of many generations. And by making this contribution to a fund to help those farming today, he is showing his support for those who will care for the environment in the future as well.
Photo credit: CFM Radio News and their Twitter account @CFMRADIONEWS