CRISIS-HIT Wales YFC is calling on the public to show their support for the organisation following the recent news that two of its main funding sources have been cut.
Supporters can sign a declaration of support online and make a donation towards the organisation. Chairman Iwan Meirion said: “The support Wales YFC has received following the announcement of the funding cuts has been overwhelming. It just goes to show how important the organisation is to people in rural Wales and how much they have benefited from YFC.” The declaration can be found at: www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/c fficymru-walesyfc
Earlier last month senior officers of the federation met Welsh Government officials to discuss the future of the organisation after funding from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Welsh Government, via the National Voluntary Youth Organisations (NVYO) grant programme, was cut. The funding had enabled the federation to maintain a vibrant programme of education and personal development to its 6,000 members across 155 clubs throughout Wales.
Afterwards, Mr Meirion said: “A positive and open discussion took place and it has been agreed to finalise a proposal to ministers in the next few days.” Opposition parties in the Assembly were also quick to respond to the ongoing discussions. Plaid Cymru shadow rural affairs minister Llyr Gruffydd said: “This unfortunate situation should be turned into an opportunity to set Wales YFC on a more sustainable financial footing.
“It is unacceptable that a key deliverer of services to young people in some of Wales’ remotest communities finds itself under threat. I have raised with the First Minister the possibility of establishing a new relationship with the YFC as a promoter and deliverer of Government services in rural Wales.
“The New Zealand Government utilises the skills, experience and strong relationship their YFC’s have with their communities to promote and deliver a breadth of initiatives. This might be an opportunity to emulate such a model in Wales. YFC members are certainly well placed to play a key role in a variety of initiatives around education, training and information dissemination on behalf of Welsh Government. “What’s clear is that no stone should be left unturned in securing a sustainable funding arrangement for Wales YFC. Our rural communities demand as much and deserve no less.”
Welsh Conservative shadow agriculture and rural affairs minister Russell George said: “This dramatic cut will hit the young farmers’ movement hard and I urge Labour ministers to get back to the drawing board. “An unfair and inexplicable decision, this cut requires an immediate and comprehensive rethink. Beneficial educational programmes now face the axe and young people – right across rural Wales – will be unnecessarily affected.
“The young farmers’ movement is a valuable part of innumerable Welsh communities, assisting and supporting, and cutting their presence will be hugely detrimental. “At a time when we should be engaging with young people in rural communities and supporting them into farming, this bizarre decision is all the more unacceptable. Time and again Labour continues to show its true colours towards our rural communities and this is another example of that horrendous unfairness.”
Welsh Liberal shadow environment and rural affairs minister William Powell said: “Volunteers contribute hugely to the work of each club with, on average, eight volunteers working six hours a week. This equates to an incredible 485,472 volunteer hours per year. “The YFC’s loss of some £700, 000 of core funding over three years – from the NVYO fund – threatens to undermine the YFC’s work at a national level by supporting county federations right across Wales.
“The contribution of YFC to nurturing leadership and self-confidence is second to none and the Welsh Government needs to make a full assessment of the impact this dramatic loss of funding will have on the YFC movement in Wales.” FUW Montgomeryshire county chairman Mark Williams, a former YFC member, said: “As the largest rural youth organisation in Wales, Wales YFC benefits young people in rural communities throughout the country.
“It is also unique in the sense that it is a movement truly run by young people for young people. It would be extremely disappointing if we were to see the organisation lose its core funding.”