Warwickshire Rural Hub
Here is a flavour of some of the most recent industry news stories. To read all news posts please click on one of the categories above.
Government representatives to discuss drought measures
Government representatives and farm leaders are to discuss drought measures as a lack of rain further damages harvest prospects across the country. Low rainfall over recent weeks is expected to see this May confirmed as the driest on record. Although some showers are forecast over the coming days, the Met Office says warm and dry weather will continue throughout the weekend. The National Drought Group – which brings together government departments, water companies, environmental groups and farming representatives – is due to assess the situation and discuss any necessary action during the first week of June. Read more here.
Innovative new start-ups can benefit from £40m fund
Innovative businesses and start-ups are set to benefit from a £40 million government investment to drive forward new technological advances. The competition aims to fast-track the development of innovations borne out of the coronavirus crisis while supporting the UK’s next generation of cutting-edge start-ups – helping to build the businesses of tomorrow and propel their future prosperity. Among the successful projects to receive the funding to date, is a virtual-reality surgical training simulator and an online farmers’ market platform. Read more here.
Virtual field days with Agricology
As events across the country are being cancelled and postponed in response to COVID-19, Agricology is hosting a series of virtual alternatives to their Field Days in collaboration with partner organisation. Each virtual field day will be focused on a particular sustainable or’ agroecological’ practice – bringing together farmers, farming organisations, researchers and advisors in conversation. These will be hosted and shared as free public webinars which are open to anyone. Topics include Sustainable Land Management, Multispecies Leys and Integrated Pest Management. Visit this page for full details.
AHDB Strategic Farm Week 1- 5 June moves online
This year AHDB’s Strategic Farm Week will be delivered direct to your farm office. They have brought together the research taking place on their Strategic Farms with their hosts, researchers and key experts from across the industry for a week of practical discussions, technical information and resources. Join in with the webinars that interest you on Tuesday or Thursday, download the ‘how to’ resources for use on your own farm, watch the video updates to hear about the latest findings on our field-scale trials or listen to the podcast special. All of the webinars and resources will be recorded and available to watch back after the events. Please visit this page for further information and to register for the events.
Get advice on cyber security for small businesses moving on-line
To help small businesses manage the transition from physical to digital safely and securely, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has developed a guidance package to support SMEs with their cyber security as business needs and ways of working develop. The package has been developed specifically to support small businesses who are relying more heavily on IT services to run their business, and will help gain a clear picture of cyber security as it currently stands and plan any new measures to put in place.
£500 million Future Fund for high-growth businesses
UK-based companies can now apply for a convertible loan of between £125,000 and £5 million, to support continued growth and innovation in sectors as diverse as technology, life sciences and the creative industries. Private investors – potentially including venture capital funds, angel investors and those backed by regional funds – will at least match the government investment in these companies. These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that typically rely on equity investment and are unable to access other government business support programmes because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit. Further information is available on this page.
Coronavirus sick pay rebate scheme opens 26 May
The scheme will enable employers with fewer than 250 employees to claim coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid to current or former employees. The online service will be available from 26 May 2020. You can use the scheme if:
- you’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
- you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
- you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020
The repayment will cover up to two weeks of the applicable rate of SSP, and is payable if a current or former employee was unable to work on or after 13 March 2020 and entitled to SSP, because they:
- have coronavirus
- are self-isolating and unable to work from home
- are shielding because they’ve been advised that they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus
For more information & to apply CLICK HERE
New innovation centre for rural enterprise
The new National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise will support enterprise, resilience and innovation among rural firms and unlock the untapped potential of rural economies across the UK. Led by experts from Newcastle, Warwick, Gloucestershire and the Royal Agricultural Universities, and working with businesses, policy makers, enterprise agencies and communities, the Centre has been awarded £3.8 million of funding by Research England. NICRE officially launches on 1 September 2020. Read more here.
Information on moving your local food business online
Sustain – the alliance for better food and farming – has drawn together advice and information on how to move your local food business online. There are links to existing website platforms and advice on how to set up your own online shop front. Visit this page for all the details.
Back British Farming with a free car sticker
NFU Countryside has produced a free “Back British Farming” car sticker. Visit this page to order your sticker whilst stocks allow.
30 days wild in Warwickshire
Join thousands of people taking part in the annual Wildlife Trusts nature challenge, 30 Days Wild! It’s a fun, feel-good challenge run every June. Back for its sixth year, it brings people closer to nature where they live, taking small actions that can collectively have a big impact. From little things such as watching a bee from your window or feeding the birds, to giving up single-use plastics for a month or digging a pond in your garden: every Random Act of Wildness counts. Sign up online for your free digital pack, full of Random Acts of Wildness and other fun activities: www.warwickshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/30DaysWild
Agriculture Bill completes its House of Commons journey
The Agriculture Bill completed its journey through the House of Commons on 13 May and is now on track to pass through parliament by the summer. It sets out how farmers will be rewarded with public money for “public goods” – such as cleaner air or water – replacing the current subsidy system. The Bill also introduces new powers to improve fairness and transparency in the supply chain and will enable the Government to introduce grants to help farmers add value to their produce while reducing costs. In addition, the Government will have a legal obligation for the first time to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every five years.
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Tel: 07780 159291
Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors
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Hub Steering Group Members
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Matt Willmott, King's Seeds
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Andrew Cook, Farmer
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