Since 1972 The Arthur Rank Centre (ARC), now called Germinate, is an ecumenical Christian charity that has served both the spiritual and practical needs of the rural community through a programme of community and social projects, resourcing and training. It is the home of the National Rural Officers for the Church of England, Methodist and United Reformed Church; and also the hub for the church network of Rural Officers and Agricultural Chaplains. Germinate’s focus is to support and strengthen the UK’s 15,000 rural churches, so they can respond positively to change and impact the communities they serve. They publish Country Way magazine three times a year.
FCN is a Christian organisation and registered charity which has been working in the farming community since 1995. Comprised of a network of some three hundred or so farming or agricultural volunteers organised into county groups throughout England and Wales, FCN provides pastoral and practical support for as long as needed – helping people to find a positive way forward through their problems. FCN has a clear Christian ethos in all it does. All its services are made available to those in need from all faiths or none in a supportive, non-judgmental, non-proselytising manner.
The NFU champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its Farmer and Grower members across England and Wales. The NFU is the British farming trade association, providing professional representation on the issues that affect farmers most.
Somerset Community Foundation works to promote vibrant, inclusive communities in Somerset through developing a culture of local giving and enabling voluntary groups to combat disadvantage and isolation. Through grant making to local charities, community groups and social enterprises, Somerset Community Foundation supports their invaluable efforts to tackle some of the most pressing and complex challenges in the area’s communities. As part of their long-term sustainable commitment to Somerset, they are building an endowment fund that will provide community support for generations to come.
Having celebrated its 80th year in 2014, Somerset Young Farmers’ Club has 960 Young Farmer members within Somerset – 24 clubs from Farrington Gurney YFC to Exmoor YFC in 5 district groups. Somerset YFC is open to anyone who has an interest in the rural community and is aged between 10 and 26 years and is all about getting like-minded young people to have fun whilst learning new activities and skills. Details about the national organisation are available here National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs.
Church-run foodbanks have multiplied across the UK in the last few years, providing emergency food to households in crisis. Increasing numbers of these are found in rural locations. Read about the creation of the Quantock foodbank in issue 34 of Manna magazine, Hidden Treasures.
The Somerset Village Agent project is a project of Community Council for Somerset (CCS) and provides people in Somerset’s rural communities with easier access to information and services. Village Agents live in the communities they serve and help to bridge the gap between isolated, excluded, vulnerable and lonely individuals and statutory and/or voluntary organisations which offer specific solutions to identified needs.
The Rural Theology Association aims to educate people in rural theology through research, papers and conferences in order to encourage the development of patterns of ministry and mission appropriate to the countryside.