South Scotland

Funding withdrawn from Scottish Young Farmers

Young Farmer at Royal Highland Show Image copyright SAYFC
Image caption The Scottish Young Farmers Association is open to young people aged between 14 and 30

The Scottish government has withdrawn its financial support for the country's largest rural youth organisation.

The Scottish Association of Young Farmers' Clubs (SAYFC) said its annual grant of £66,000 had been cut.

It represents an 11% loss in annual income, according to a spokeswoman for the organisation which has more than 3,500 members across Scotland.

The government said ministers will invite SAYFC leaders to talks to discuss how to support their work.

It is the first time in almost 70 years that it will receive no government financial support, according to the association

Chief executive Penny Montgomerie said: "We are disappointed that the Scottish government has taken this decision to no longer support SAYFC.

"The association offers a crucial network for many young people in rural Scotland as well as unique personal development opportunities.

"The association is currently growing from strength to strength with membership now higher than it has been since 1998."

Image copyright SAYFC
Image caption Chief executive Penny Montgomerie said she was disappointed by the decision of the Scottish government

Young people aged between 14 and 30 can be members of young farmers clubs.

They are encouraged to take part in events, competitions, training and travel, "which help reduce rural isolation and increase confidence and skills".

Ms Montgomerie said: "Looking to the future we are optimistic that although there are tough financial times ahead over the coming months we will continue to focus on ensuring we can develop member services, and have a relevant organisation that youth in rural Scotland want to be part of."

A spokeswoman for the Scottish government said more than 100 organisations, including many youth work groups, have been awarded grants from a £12m fund.

She added: "All organisations who were unsuccessful in the application process have been offered support from Lloyds Foundation to consider alternative funding sources, including other relevant government funds

"We value the work of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs and are committed to helping to increase opportunities for young farmers.

"Ministers will be inviting SAYFC leaders to meet to discuss how the Scottish government can help support their good work in light of the panel's decision in relation to their application for youth work funding."

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