Three new trustees have been appointed to the CLA Charitable Trust to help continue its valuable work supporting charities and communities in improving awareness of the countryside.
The three trustees – Roger Douglas, Jane Lane, and Giles Bowring – join Chairman Bridget Biddell and fellow trustees Andrew Grant and Robin Clark in the running and organisation of the Trust, which is funded almost entirely by subscriptions from CLA members. They meet four times a year to award grants to charities and community interest companies that support disadvantage and disabled people in accessing the countryside for the nurture it is able to provide and the opportunities for education in agriculture, horticulture and conservation.
For Lincolnshire farmer Roger Douglas, the Trust is an important tool in encouraging people to engage with the countryside and agriculture as well as promoting mutual understanding.
“We forget how little people know about our way of life and how important food is to us all. I hope people can learn what the countryside is all about so we will all have a future together with mutual understanding.
“2020 has seen many people out in the countryside and this is a great opportunity to get into schools and offer the chance to work with these charities in the countryside.” Roger has also organised summer camps on his farm for up to 100 children from deprived areas in Grimsby. “It was amazing to see how much they gained from this experience,” he says.
Norfolk-based member Jane Lane has a strong belief in the restorative power of the outdoor natural environment and says that 2020 has helped acknowledge the importance of our natural surroundings and the benefits of spending time outside.
“We should be enabling as many people as possible to get into the countryside, to learn how to take care of it and appreciate all it has to offer, and extending this to as many as we can is vital as it benefits us all,” she says.
“I hope that we can continue to build on the exceptional work already achieved by the Trust. It will be wonderful to be able to support smaller charities working hard to bring the befits of the countryside to a wider audience and also to shine the spotlight on the fantastic work they are doing.”
Giles Bowring, who lives in North Yorkshire and is also Trustee of the Farming Community Network, has seen first-hand the difference that care and teaching can make to young peoples’ lives and shares the same visions and ambitions of the Trust.
“Charities have suffered badly from a dearth of traditional fundraising activities during the pandemic. The funding the Trust can provide will hopefully enable charities to meet an anticipated increase in demand for access to the benefits of education in and about the great outdoors.
“I hope the Trust will be able to support an even larger number of organisations and charities and become well-known throughout England and Wales as a key supporter of the voluntary sector in the countryside.”