Winning a royal seal of approval has helped the team behind a traditional working farm in Wiltshire welcome even more visitors.
The Royal Bath and West of England Society has teamed up with the Duchy of Cornwall for a third year to bring this community award to the Royal Bath and West Show.
River Bourne Community Farm, in Laverstock, Salisbury, was named the 2013 winner of the prestigious Prince of Wales Award, which celebrates projects improving the lives of the rural population, at last year’s Royal Bath and West Show in Somerset.
Judges from the Royal Bath & West Society and the Duchy of Cornwall presented the farm with the honour after being impressed by the work carried out since January 2010 by staff and volunteers to transform a derelict, 63-acre site into a sustainable farm, complete with livestock, pigs, poultry, a farm shop, education facilities and much more.
Providing public access to the farmyard and its nature and art trails is central to the project and the £1,000 given to the team as part of the award has been put to good use, said Jane Wilkinson, farm office manager.
She said: “The farm is a meeting place for the local community and the prize money was used to build a seating area alongside our small shop/cafe which has enabled many more visitors to come and enjoy the farm and sample and buy the farm’s honey and free range eggs which has, in turn, added to the sustainability of the farm.”
River Bourne Community Farm is only the second project to have won the Prince of Wales Award, following in the footsteps of Mells Village Shop, post office and café, near Frome in Somerset, which claimed the honour in 2012, the year the award was launched.
Ms Wilkinson added: “We were delighted to receive the Prince of Wales Award in 2013. It was testament to the hard work of our staff and volunteers, friends of the farm and supporters who have all played a part in the development of the farm from a derelict site in 2010 to a busy working farm available for the community to enjoy. “Our farm chairman Benjamin Parker is very much looking forward to being part of the judging panel for the award in 2014.”
Entries for the Prince of Wales Award 2014 must be received by April 11, 2014, and entry forms are available by visiting: www.bathandwest.com
This award is open to community organisations, schools, colleges and groups which have brought about improvements to the lives of the rural population in a sustainable way.
Examples would be: the communal buying of a local asset; the development of allotments by villagers without gardens to grow their own vegetables; the collection and conversion of village waste into compost for the use of the community.
The award is open to all communities across Bristol, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. Finalists will be invited to the Royal Bath & West Show on the day of the award presentation and the overall winner will receive £1,000 in prize money to further their project and a memento from HRH The Prince of Wales.
The Royal Bath and West Show takes place from May 28 to May 31 at the Showground in Shepton Mallet. Early bird tickets are on sale now via www.bathandwest.com