‘Countryside is undervalued’

It’s time to rethink how we view the value of the countryside, according to The Prince’s Countryside Fund. ‘Rural’ and ‘opportunity’ are not often words which are associated with each other, but with 5.5 million people employed in the rural economy, and domestic food and drink contributing £22 billion to the UK economy, the contribution of the countryside is considerable, says the charity.

Research conducted by the Fund, ahead of National Countryside Week (14 to 20 July 2014), has revealed that a significant number of people undervalue the contribution of the British countryside. In a separate recent YouGov poll, nearly three in ten (28%) of people surveyed believed the contribution of Britain’s rural economy to be less than it is; 19% of the overall UK economy.
Fund Manager, Helen Aldis, says, ‘Rural Affairs are often put to one side until there’s a crisis, like dramatic floods earlier this spring. But once the waters recede, and the crisis is no longer visible, we neglect to examine issues the countryside faces and these issues not only affect those who live in the countryside, they have an impact on everyone who lives in Britain.’

‘We are all rural consumers: we eat food from UK farms, we enjoy leisure time in the countryside, we value its biodiversity, landscape and tranquillity. The issues The Prince’s Countryside Fund tackles, low farming incomes, decline in rural communities, access for training for young people, and rural isolation-these all have an impact on everyone who lives in the UK.’

The Countryside Fund, which has given over £3.8 million in grants in the four years since its inception, was set up by HRH The Prince of Wales to provide support to the multitude of remarkable organisations and individuals working tirelessly to keep farmers farming and our rural communities alive.

During National Countryside Week they aim to celebrate the individuals who care for the countryside and highlight the diverse range of ways in which they contribute to the country.

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