CLA Marketing and Partnership Executive and Charitable Trust Administrator, Tahirih Mclaren-Brown, explains how the CLA Charitable Trust is dedicated to helping young people connect with the countryside.
The CLA Charitable Trust is dedicated to enabling disadvantaged young people and those with disabilities experience the benefits of the countryside by supporting charities and organisations who provide rural education, access and facilities.
As the Trust Administrator, I am involved with all aspects of the Trust including helping charities with their applications, assessing them at Trust meetings, interviewing scholarship applicants and, of course, granting funds.
One of my favourite parts of this role is contacting very deserving charities with the happy news that their application has been successful and a cheque will be in the post!
The Trustees meet three times a year to assess grant applications and decide who will receive funding for their work. As we are funded almost entirely by annual donations from CLA members, we make sure that all of this is given directly to our funding recipients so that we can make the biggest possible impact on their valuable work.
The Trust is special because we believe in sharing the joys of the countryside that CLA members have the privilege of experiencing daily. So many young people in England and Wales do not get the opportunity to visit rural areas due to their family situations or disabilities and having a taste of the fresh air, mucking in with farm jobs and learning where their food comes from can be a life-changing experience.
In the past year, we've been able to support a range of organisations and their projects including a new education building at Little Gate Farm, a countryside skills course with The Earth Trust, a wheelchair accessible bathroom at Hill Hobbs Farm and two young farmers programmes at Oasis Community Farm Waterloo and Kentish Town City Farm. This has enabled young people to not only experience the countryside and farming but also learn about themselves, interacting with others and gain practical life skills. We also give annual funding to Farms for City Children and The Country Trust who take hundreds of children on week-long residential trips to working farms each year.
Another part of the Trust I love is being able to support two students a year with scholarships at Harper Adams University. These students study Rural Enterprise and Land Management and it is a joy to watch them exceed at their studies and graduate into a career in the rural industry. They are all bright, motivated and very enthusiastic!
None of this would be possible without the support from CLA members. Myself and the Trustees are proud to represent the CLA and positively impact young people’s lives by sharing farming and our beautiful countryside with them each year.