Royal lifeline for farmers this winter

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The Prince of Wales has donated £150,000 to help farmers struggling through the winter months.

The Duke of Westminster has also confirmed that he will personally match the funding, bringing to the total to £300,000.

Prince Charles said: “I have grown increasingly concerned about the many difficulties farmers are facing this Winter.

“I thought it was important for us to come together, hear what we each have to report, and see what I can do to help through my Prince’s Countryside Fund.”

This summer was the second wettest since Met Office records began and the extreme weather has meant a poor harvest and high costs for farmers.

Lord Curry of Kirkharle, a Trustee of The Prince’s Countryside Fund, said: “This is the first time that the Countryside Fund has utilised all of its emergency funding and is a reflection of what a difficult time this is for farmers.”

The funding will be distributed among a number of farming help charities, including Farm Crisis Network.

All of the farming help charities’ helplines have received calls from individuals contemplating suicide.

Helen Benson, Yorkshire coordinator for Farm Crisis Network said: “Farming people, and especially Yorkshire farming people are an incredibly proud and stoic bunch.

“People never call us early enough, we are a farming community at Farm Crisis Network and we all have farming experience so we understand the challenges people are facing.”

At a meeting at Clarance house Prince Charles told representatives from the charities: “I think we are all agreed that many British farmers are facing an emergency situation and so I am very pleased we could divide £150,000 between you”.

The Prince’s Countryside Fund was set up in 2010 to support Britain’s rural areas and has distributed over £1.7 million, benefiting 20,000 people.

The Farm Crisis Network helpline 0845 367 9990 is open 365 days a year from 7am to 11pm.