Young Farmers Club launches last ditch recruitment drive (From Wiltshire Times)

MELKSHAM & District Young Farmers Club has launched a last-ditch recruitment drive to attract new members.

Members are to hold a special meeting on Thursday, September 28 at Owl Lodge, Forest Lane, Lacock, at 7.30pm, to discuss the club’s future.

The club has six members with an average age of just over 16 but may have to close after 80 years.

Like many other YFCs, Melksham & District Young Farmers Club was formed in 1937 to give young people an education about all things agricultural with a focus on the keeping and growing of living things.

Members learned how to rear calves and other farm animals such as sheep, pigs and poultry, and to show them in competitions at local county shows.

They also offered young farmers, both men and women, the opportunity to socialise and have fun outside of work.

Over the decades, as farming has changed, clubs have diversified and now attract young people who are not part of the farming community but have a love of agricultural and the countryside.

Now the Melksham & District Club needs more young people to join and be willing to take on the commitment of organising and running club activities.

Helen Darvill, the Wiltshire YFC County Organiser, said: “In recent years, Melksham & District YFC has had difficulty in recruiting volunteers to take on the leadership and encourage membership back up.

“Over the past 12 months, the advisory committee has attempted to gain new members with a recruitment drive but to little avail.

“Fortunately, current members have continued to enjoy YFC activities, albeit with another club. They have a fantastic social life.

“What we need are young people who are willing to give their time to help organise and run the club’s activities.

“You don’t have to be a farmer to become a member of YFC – in fact you don’t have to know anything about farming, all you need is a sense of adventure and a love of the countryside.”

One of the largest youth organisations in the world, the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs has 619 clubs with 24,500 members across the UK.

The first club opened in Hemyock, Devon in 1921 and over the decades clubs have provide agricultural and social education to their hard-working members.

Now open to anyone aged 10 to 26, YFCs provide young people with a fantastic chance to meet lifelong friends, learn new skills, make a real difference to the local community and even travel the world!

If you wish to join Melksham & District YFC, you could have the opportunity to take part in competitions, learn new skills, support national farming and countryside campaigns, and attend the YFC’s Annual Convention.

Younger members are able to go on activity weekends, summer camps in the Brecon Beacons, as well as learn new skills.

If you wish to join Melksham & District YFC and help revive the club’s fortunes, please contact Helen Darvill on 07957 951994 or email: wiltshireyfc@live.co.uk

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