Phil Vickery takes on rural role for Prince

Posted On 29 February 2012

Mr Vickery, who grew up on a farm in Cornwall, has taken a leading role with the fund, which aims to support rural communities and was the brainchild of Prince Charles.

"Whether you live in the city, country or town, we can all do a little bit to support our countryside,” Mr Vickery said.

Since retiring from the game in 2010 due to injury, Mr Vickery, who was brought up on a farm at Kilkhampton, near Bude, has bought his own farm in Gloucestershire. He said there was “a huge amount of camaraderie in rugby and it’s the same in the countryside”.

The fund was launched two years ago with the aim of aiding rural communities and using education and business support to improve the sustainability of the British countryside.

Groups are invited to apply for grants, which are awarded twice a year from the fund, supported by businesses such as Waitrose, Asda, Strutt and Parker, and Barbour.

Among those to win a share of the £422,000 recently awarded was Running Deer, a community interest company in Devon, which trains local people, particularly young and unemployed, in rural skills such as stone walling and hurdle making.

Other successful bids came from the Plunkett Foundation, which supports the development of community-owned shops, and Fresh Start which is aiming to launch a dairy “academy”.

All the winning projects have proved “a special contribution to safeguarding the countryside at either a national or more local level”.

Mr Vickery, a 35-year-old father-of-two, said the British countryside was the “envy of the world” but that people who worked in it had to “feel valuable”.

He said: “Let’s help give people the opportunity. Start by teaching kids to grow vegetables, give them invaluable knowledge and pass it down through the generations. It’s about helping the industry show people that there is a future.”

He added: “When you drive around the countryside and see how fantastic it looks, be aware of how much goes into that – all the workers that keep it looking so good.

“We should make sure we don’t lose those people and those wonderful skills.”

Source: Thisisgloucestershire

← Back to news