Devon Federation of Young Farmers Clubs opens its new HQ in Cheriton Bishop

Sunday 29th January 2017 3:00 pm
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THE Devon Federation of Young Farmers Clubs has opened its new centre and rural hub in Cheriton Bishop, after raising more than £400,000 for the project.

The building, directly alongside the A30 dual carriageway, was bought by the Devon Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs back in May. Since then the federation has raised enough money for refurbishment, which is now in its final phase of completion.

The new premises, which was part of a former pub called The Mulberry Inn, is centrally located for all young farmers clubs throughout Devon and the federation now shares the building with a number of other local rural organisations.

The county organiser for Devon Young Farmers, Nick Creasy, said: ‘After five years of searching for a suitable site of building we found the disused pub in Cheriton Bishop. We pulled on our finical reserves and also took a loan out to purchase the former Mulberry Inn in Cheriton Bishop in May 2014.

‘We then had to raise the funds to repay the loan and paid for the building work and refurbishment that were needed to bring the building up to a usable and suitable condition.

‘The target we needed was £500,000. We did have some confidence as the Devon Young Farmers had raised over £100,000 every year for the last four years and given this to local and national charities.

‘This time we decided we would raise funds for our own charity so we could carry on supporting others in the future.

‘The club members, families and supporters lead the way with the fundraising. Companies and organisations were also very generous and it would be a very long list to name them all. We received funds from trusts and grants, including Dartington cattle breeders, Jewsons, Awards for All, Garfield Weston, Bernard Sunley, One Family Foundation, the Princes Countryside Fund, Devon County Council and Aviva.

‘We are pleased to say that finally moved into our new home in December 2016. However, we still need to raise around £35,000 to finally complete the project and payments.’

The new centre will be used as a central training hub for both Young Farmer members and other organisations that wish to deliver opportunities in Devon.

Mr Creasy said: ‘The aim of the new Devon YFC Centre and Rural Hub is to have a central rural location for the county of Devon that is accessible to all by both road network and public transport, and a building that can be the administration headquarters and meeting place for The Devon Federation of Young Farmers Clubs.

‘The new centre is a building that is an asset base for the federation that will give financial stability, also a building that can be cohabited by organisations whose aims are to support Devon’s communities.

‘The four offices on the first floor of the building are now all occupied with people from local areas. The businesses are Inxpress, a shipping business, Rebecca Tripp Sports, a pregnancy and baby massage company, Pinnacle photo agency and Luscombe Maye Rural professional services.

‘The ground floor is occupied by Young Farmers as our administration, meeting and training space. Farm Community Network (FCN) which seeks to provide confidential, non-judgemental support to all those in need of help in the farming community and British Wool Marketing Board training (Southern England).’

For the past 42 years Devon Federation of Young Farmers had been based in the The YFC Centre at the end of Retail Park Close, Marsh Barton in Exeter. The centre was built on land owned by Exeter City Council.

At the time of building it faced a busy and vibrant cattle market, which served a large area of Devon’s farming community.

The market moved in 1990 to the other side of Marsh Barton Estate and was replaced by a retail park that is still running today.

Mr Creasy said the previous centre served The Devon Federation of Young Farmers well, but was not adequate for the amount of staff and other organisations the federation is now working with.

The new centre in Cheriton Bishop will be the central point for the main Devon YFC office and will hold meetings as well as training events.

The new centre supports the farming and rural communities by providing meeting spaces, hot desking, and the opportunity for other rural organisations to use the new building.

Agents Luscombe Maye, who donated £10,000 to the refurbishment, now share the building with the Federation of Young Farmers’ Club.

Stuart Hext, Luscombe Maye senior partner, said: ‘We are really excited to be taking our services into this area.

‘It’s ideally placed, with Dartmoor to the south and the Ruby Country farming belt to the north.

‘We have had a lot of demand in this region, especially planning and landlord and tenant advice, so it’s great to have a physical presence there.’

Amanda Burden, head of agriculture and rural planning at Luscombe Maye, said: ‘Having been an active young farmer myself and working with young farmers who are the future of our rural industries, it is fantastic that we are sharing offices with the federation.’To see more, visit www.onefamily.com/your-foundation/community-awards/award-winners/devon-federation-of-young-farmers-clubs/

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