Nancy Tweddell has moved on from her role as Cumbria Farm Link
Nancy Tweddell & Harry Martin
Her departure marks 11 years of work with Cumbria’s farming
and rural communities on a number of funding initiatives run under
the umbrella of Cumbria Rural Enterprise Agency, based at Redhills,
From Monday November 12 the Cumbria Farm Link team will be managed
by former Newton Rigg college agricultural lecturer Harry Martin
who has been the farm advisory team leader at CREA since September
The current well known Farming Connect Cumbria programme draws
to a close next year after injecting almost £7.5 million
of capital as well as technical advisory work into the county’s
farms since its inception just over three years ago.
“I am very pleased with the programme and what we have achieved,” said
Nancy, “It has been very worthwhile.
“Through the scheme, working with as many as 1,500 farmers,
around half of whom have been awarded grants, we have developed
a central contact point for the farmers, who recognise and respect
us for what we do.
“As a result, we have also developed a large network of
contacts which we can put farmers in touch with. This ‘hub’ is
very much needed in Cumbria both now and for the future.”
Nancy, whose family farm is near Hesket Newmarket, began working
with the industry as Cumbria Farm Link manager in January 1997,
handling the Objective 5b area programme giving environmental and
business advice as well as capital grants which over its four years
provided £2 million in funding.
Research carried out in 1999 identified gaps in funding which
in turn led to the establishment of Farming Connect Cumbria through
financial support from Rural Regeneration Cumbria following 2001’s
foot and mouth epidemic.
Nancy and Harry have worked with a team of around 30 advisors
and three part-time administrative staff under the umbrella of
CREA, which has supported the programme’s vital systems and
Projects awarded capital grants have ranged from slurry stores
to sheep pens to water recycling systems to milking parlours, at
an average grant rate of 37 per cent.
“We feel that we have achieved what we set out to do – to
help farmers think about and plan their future, and to provide
funding for what they really need to keep their businesses viable
“Grants have been awarded through a rigorous process involving
independent assessors, a grant panel and, if necessary, an appeals
process. Some applicants have been turned down, which has
been difficult, but it has been right because the grant would not
have helped the business move forward. And some decided themselves
it was wiser not to go ahead at present.”
Careful management of the programme’s finances has recently
enabled the release of further funding for small grants of up to £2,500. All
work will have to be finished and the money paid out before FCC’s
conclusion in the early summer of 2008.
Any future funding is likely to focus on improving “carbon
awareness” and resource management, as well as energy efficiency
on farms, and CREA have recently contracted ADAS to carry out a
pilot scheme involving 20 farms in the county looking at these
Bob Clark, CEO of CREA, said “Cumbria Farm Link is real
success story, helping very many farmers. We are sorry to see Nancy
leave and wish her every success in her new role.”
Harry Martin has worked closely with Nancy since the programme
began. When he left Newton Rigg after 31 years at the college he
was head of the agricultural department.
Nancy Tweddell takes on her new challenge as a project manager
for the North West Development Agency’s Rural Development
Programme for England, based at Gillan Way near Junction 40 in
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