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PRINCE OF WALES RAISES OVER MILLION FOR FARMERS

3rd October 2007

The Prince of Wales has raised over half a million pounds for British farmers directly affected by the latest outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease.

Leading supermarkets such as ASDA, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose have made substantial contributions, as have the Co-operative, Musgrave, Booths, Unilever, Cadbury Schweppes and the national food service distributor 3663.

The Prince himself has donated 100,000 which has been matched by The Duke of Westminster in a move which echoes the donations both made at the time of the last Foot and Mouth outbreak in March 2001.

The total donation, which will be given to farming charities, now stands at 620,000 and will be used to help directly those whose livelihoods have been most affected, especially farmers unable to sell their livestock or pay their bills and those who need advice, help and support.

Since the first outbreak of the disease in Surrey last month, farming charities have reported increasing numbers of telephone calls for help and growing levels of anxiety and stress among farmers and related occupations. Tragically, two suicides have already been reported. This situation has only worsened with the second outbreak this month.

The Prince of Wales said today: "Despite the very welcome lifting of some of the restrictions on animal movements and livestock markets, this remains a desperately difficult time for farmers throughout the United Kingdom. The re-emergence of Foot and Mouth combined with the impact of the flooding this Summer - and now the cases of Bluetongue - have created a real crisis which will be felt for months to come. I hope that this donation will make a difference for those farmers struggling to cope. They have animals to feed and bills to pay now; their feedstocks are in short supply and the future is still very uncertain. Too many farmers are on the brink. I am enormously grateful to The Duke of Westminster and the retailers and food companies who have joined me in making this donation to help safeguard the future of our livestock farmers."

The Duke of Westminster said: "We all hope that the present crisis will be short-lived and less widespread than in 2001 but in the meantime I, like HRH The Prince of Wales and the other donating organisations am committed to doing all I can to help the agricultural community and individual farmers cope with the impact of the outbreak."

Sir Don Curry, Chairman of the Sustainable Food and Farming Delivery Group welcomed today's announcement.

"As he did in 2001, The Prince of Wales has once again led from the front. As we all know, The Prince is very sensitive to the plight of the farming community and he understands the devastating effect which Foot and Mouth disease is having. Many farmers are under extreme stress at the moment and this donation will provide essential relief to those affected, not just financially but in terms of practical support, advice and help and on their behalf we cannot thank him and the other donors enough."

The Reverend Dr. Gordon Gatward, from the Arthur Rank Centre at the Royal Agricultural Society of England said:

"We are delighted by this donation. The Prince, The Duke and all the companies which have contributed deserve our deepest thanks and praise for realising the depth of the problems which some farmers are now facing. We may not have great pyres of burning animals but we do have a situation which is preventing many livestock farmers in this country from making a living. It is particularly gratifying that some of the big supermarket chains contributed so generously to the fund."

John Macfarlane, Welfare Manager of the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution said today: "Once again The Prince of Wales has demonstrated his knowledge of and concern for the farming community and has acted swiftly to provide practical help. RSABI, Scotland's charity helping people who depend on the land, will ensure that the funds are targeted to those who are suffering personally in the current crisis. Hill sheep farming is an extremely important part of Scottish agriculture and we are already receiving calls from farmers in that sector who are suffering stress and worry not only about the situation now, but over the coming year."

Commenting on this week's news that HRH Prince Charles The Duke of Rothesay has raised over half a million pounds for British farmers directly affected by the latest outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease, Robert Gray, Project Coordinator for HRH's North Highland Initiative commented:

"This is yet another fine example of HRH's concern for the farming
community and his efforts to mobilise immediate aid to this sector of the population are to be applauded. Here in the North Highlands, we are well aware and appreciative of his long-term practical support to farmers
through his inspired creation of the Mey Selections brand."

"In the past two years, beef and lamb farmers in the North Highlands have received additional premium payments from selling their livestock through North Highland Products, the company established as a direct result of HRH's Initiative and now developing the Mey Selections brand," he added.

The total FMD donation, which will be given to farming charities, now stands at 620,000 and will be used to help directly those whose livelihoods have been most affected, especially farmers unable to sell their livestock or pay their bills and those who need advice, help and support.

Mr Gray also highlighted that should any farmer in the far north believe that FMD is causing major problems, they should contact the RSABI, (The Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution), via Dr Morris Hankey on 0131 472 4166. "

In England and Wales, the fund will be administered by the Farming Help Partnership which is made up of three charitable organisations:

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution. The RABI is dedicated to helping members of the farming community who are suffering particular hardship. It helps with domestic expenses such as fuel, telephone and food bills, relieving some of the immediate worries for the family as a whole.

The ARC-Addington Fund. The Addington Fund was set up in 2000 as an emergency fund to help pig farmers through the Swine Fever crisis. At that time HRH gave a substantial donation. On the outbreak of FMD in 2001, the Addington Fund decided to join with the Arthur Rank Centre (ARC) to provide support for farmers throughout the UK. The fund runs a strategic housing scheme for those having to exit unviable rural businesses and has now relaunched its hardship fund to support farm businesses and those who are dependent on agriculture for a living. This includes assistance to meet the additional costs for animal feed and bedding.

The Farm Crisis Network. This is a nationwide network of trained volunteers from within the farming community who provide emotional, practical and spiritual support for farming families in difficulty. The charity also runs a helpline which operates from 7.00am until 11.00pm throughout the year.

In Scotland, the fund will be administered by RSABI, formerly The Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution. RSABI is the only charity in Scotland dedicated to relieving poverty and hardship among people who have depended on the land. It is an approachable and caring source of support to people in times of need.

The Prince of Wales is grateful for the support of Business in the Community's Rural Action Team in engaging businesses to recognise the importance of British agriculture and for their assistance in arranging these donations.

 

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