Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey

CHURCH SERVICE: Sunday, at St Peter’s Church, Offham. 10.15am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am Family Communion followed by coffee in the hall.

FACETIME A FARMER: From my latest edition of South East Farmer. Strutt and Parker have agreed a two year sponsorship with LEAF Education to help develop its Facetime a Farmer initiative, which aims to bring the world of farming, food and environment directly to the classroom. The project involves farmers being paired with schools to deliver regular Facetime/Skype sessions with school children to bring about a better understanding of farming and food production.

YOUNG FARMERS: Also South East Farmer are asking the following. 10 to 26 year old? Young Farmers Clubs want you. Eradicating rural isolation, helping young people to develop and learn new skills, raising money for charity, there is far more to being a YFC member than meets the eye. The National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (NFYFC) is one of the largest rural youth organisations in the UK with 67 Young Farmers Clubs currently spread across the South East area. Led by young people, for young people, YFCs provide 24,500 members throughout England and Wales aged 10 to 26 years with a unique opportunity to develop skills, work with the local community, travel abroad, take part in a varied competitions programme and enjoy a dynamic social life. Over the years, young farmers have unfortunately picked up a bad reputation for its drinking culture. A vital part of the organisation is to provide a social platform, bringing like-minded young people together to help eradicate rural isolation. There is so much more going on than trips to the local pub and AGM scandals. Keen to see the next generation of farmers and agricultural professionals take advantage of the multitude of opportunities the organisation has to offer, rural co-operative RAMSAK and South East Farmer caught up with some of the Kent and Sussex’ key YFC members to learn more about what being a member means to them, how it has helped them through their personal life and career and what advice they would give to those looking to join. One question was, how has it helped your career? The answer was, being self-employed a lot of my first jobs came through other members and the connections I made through the club. From being on the committee, there are so many transferable skills for your CV and I don’t think you can get that life experience anywhere else. For instance if you are a club secretary, treasurer or managing events, it can really set you apart when you go off to the real working world.

AMAZING: This morning, before I started writing this column at 9.30am, my lovely shrub by the kitchen window was laden with lovely orange berries, some of which I was going to use to make decoration. By 12.30pm they had all been stripped from the bush, apart form a few clusters. As I was preparing lunch I looked out and saw a couple of blackbirds who had obviously been feasting on the berries and had come back to clear the rest of them. Oh well, their need was so much greater than mine. Perhaps it is a sign of very cold weather.

BANK ON THE NFU: For some farmers this winter will be a struggle for feed or water following the extreme weather fluctuations of the past year. Therefore the NFU is encouraging members to ask for peer-to peer assistance via the water bank. The NFU Vice President said: ‘The NFU Water Bank, as a web-based notice board, could be of considerable help to some members who are quickly running out of water for fruit and vegetable production as they use up their annual abstraction volumes. Livestock who rely on drinking water from abstracted sources are also at risk. If you have excess water and want to make it available for other members it can be listed on the water bank. Equally, if you need some you can request your need for water on their website www.NFUonline.com. In addition to this the NFU’s Fodder Bank is available to list excess feed or request some if you are running low on the farm. I am always amazed at the multitude of helpful issues that the NFU undertake.

HAPPY HENS: I have just read an article that reports that having found homes for nearly 700,000 laying has, the British Hen Welfare Trust has been named JustGiving Charity of the Year. Very well deserved.

CHRISTMAS VIEWING: Apparently two lost episodes of the Morecambe and Wise Show will be shown on BBC2 over Christmas for the first time since 1968, after the tapes were discovered in Sierra Leone. It will make a change from some of the rubbish that is shown.

BAD WEEK FOR DOGS: The Dangerous Dogs Act has come under fire after figures emerged showing that, in 2015/16 ore than half the dogs seized by police and put down hadn’t harmed anyone. That’s food for thought.