CASE STUDY: Countryways – Enabling growth
Countryways CIC’s Farming in Protected Landscapes grant will enable more people with learning difficulties, physical and mental health challenges to benefit from contact with farming.
Countryways Community Interest Company is situated on a working farm which is part of the Central Chilterns Farmer Cluster. It operates separately to the farm as a not-for-profit Social Enterprise with five Volunteer Directors. Countryways CIC works alongside the farmer, delivering high quality educational interaction with the public and positive outcomes for all.
In recent years Countryways has worked with many individuals and organisations with learning difficulties, physical and mental health challenges. The FiPL grant of £17,095 contributed towards total project costs of £20,595 which will help Countryways fund a number of changes so that more people can benefit from contact with farming.
The objectives of the project are to:
- Enable more visitors and volunteers to be able to participate in, and learn about, farming.
- Deliver biodiversity improvements around the farm via conservation grazing and restoration of a traditional orchard.
- Support educational use of the farm by helping schools with transport costs.
- Maintain and enhance historical features which help increase educational outcomes.
- Purchasing and installing: fencing, gates, electric fence unit, tree guards, livestock shelters, pathway improvements, field shelter.
- Supporting transport costs for disadvantaged schools.
- Making the traditional farm well viewable for educational purposes.
Year 1 work has been completed with the installation of new fencing, gates, livestock shelters, fruit trees and tree guards. This is enhancing the way visitors and volunteers manage and care for the land and the livestock. The capital investment will also bring benefits for plant and invertebrate diversity as a result of being able to fine tune the grazing of grassland habitat.
Keys to success
The objectives of Countryways are a very close match to those of the FiPL programme. In particular, the application demonstrated:
- A proven track record.
- Evidence of unmet demand for greater provision of services.
- Very strong connections with the Chilterns landscape.
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