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Young blood is a rural inspiration

One of the greatest movements ever to have stemmed from our towns, villages and greens, that has focussed on great causes and inspired our youth to help others, has to be the Young Farmers Clubs. It’s strange that although it’s name implies ‘farmers’ the truth is that YFC is for everyone in the local community, not just farming.

In Skirlaugh, East Riding of Yorkshire, during September 2015, the Skirlaugh YFC is celebrating some 65 years of being an active club. Typically, the group runs a mixture of events from visits to local businesses, manufacturing facilities and of course farming enterprises. Visiting local farms to understand how farmers of today are producing our home-grown food, gives considerable insight into the technological advancement in the industry and can encourage a career focus for some. But the range of subject matter covered at meetings is vast.

“We have internal evenings where we may cover things such as woodworking, cooking, flower-arranging, or carol singing at Christmas, commented Izzy Moulds, the Skirlaugh YFC Press and Publicity officer. “but then there are other events such as paint-balling, go-karting and winter sports, where we all get together and enjoy active events. We certainly have a lot of fun.”

But it’s not just about fun, there are some serious, life-changing benefits to joining a local YFC group, if only to help local charities or individuals who could do with a helping hand in life. For example, recently the Skirlaugh YFC raised £400 for Hornsea Inshore Rescue. On another project focus, they organised a fashion show to raise much needed funds for L6ve Life, a charity that was focussing on local sufferers of Motor Neurone Disease.

“There is a joining fee for individual members, because as part of the National Federation of Young Farmer Clubs, we do need to support our national organisers with funding, as we get so much help and assistance in running our local club from them. added Izzy. “But meeting on a weekly basis, it encourages young people from the ages of ten to mid twenties to get together and learn a lot about life and helps people communicate and develop personal skills.”

Recently, on a visit to Ripon Farm Services, Ottringham, Skirlaugh YFC members met with the branch Parts Manager, Julie Bligh who showed them around the facilities and helped them understand the level of mechanical, after-sales and technical support available to farmers, from a major farm equipment dealership.

Said Julie, “as one of the largest farming support businesses in the area, we see the young farmer’s movement as being a very important part of rural life and indeed in helping our youth to meet other like-minded people for personal benefit and helping good causes. At Ripon Farm Services, we assisted with some of the funding towards the club clothing and we have a generous on-going discount system to help those going to college to be able to afford clothing and footwear. We also plan to support the YFC for future events. After all, these young people are our future and we want to help them in any way we can. Rural life needs help from rural businesses.”

The success for the YFC movement is all about attracting more members to join and enjoy participating in events. The Skirlaugh YFC meets every Tuesday evening (except through August/September), normally at Long Riston Village Hall, but the first meeting of the new season is an AGM and will be held on October 6th at Rise Hall, Rise at 7.30pm. Members from all local villages are welcome to come along and find out if the YFC is for them. Some current members travel 40 minutes or more to be there, so they must see benefit in belonging to such an enthusiastic organisation.

“One of the most successful events we had recently was a Foam Party, commented Izzy. “It was based around a disco and of course lots of foam being sprayed around. We sold-out of five hundred tickets, almost two weeks before the event and we managed to raise six thousand five hundred for fees and charitable support. It was a huge success and we are always looking at different ways to attract new members to come and join us.” concluded Izzy.