Tuesday, 25 June 2013 08:53

Ex-service personnel a step closer to rural land-based career

Ex-service personnel keen to pursue a career in running a rural business are now a step closer to realising that dream.

Military charity the Buchanan Trust is planning to help troops enjoy employment in agriculture by partnering a fellow military charity and an agricultural college to launch a programme of agricultural ‘taster’ training courses, as well as new funding streams for rural training and development.

The Buchanan Trust was set up by benefactor Robert Buchanan during the aftermath of World War 1 in memory of his son Alan who died in battle near Ypres, Belgium in June 1915. Gifting 800 acres of land on his estate in Bosbury, near Hereford, Mr Buchanan wanted to provide land to ex-soldiers for the settlement or employment in agriculture.

The consultation concluded in March and has driven a variety of radical proposals which Councillor Terry James, chairman of the Buchanan Trust’s board, said will provide an ‘essential springboard’ in the charity’s quest to broaden the benefits it can deliver to a greatly increased number of beneficiaries.

The Trust has also expressed its wish to increase its potential benevolence outside of its historic Herefordshire roots with a proposal to acquire land near to a yet-to-be-named military town for the benefit of ex-service and serving personnel to use as allotments.

Mr James said: “The Buchanan Trust will always have historical roots but the pace of change over the past 100 years has meant there was a vital requirement to not only modernise, but widen the scope of how the Trust can benefit past, transitional and present military personnel.

“The consultation process has allowed us to start that journey and has been a tremendous success. Over four months we sought views from key individuals and organisations up and down the country – people with in-depth knowledge of the military, agricultural and rural sectors together with current and former military personnel.

“Their input, coupled with our own ideas, has meant we have grasped the opportunity to move the Trust into 21st century – proposing to add new national-scale projects to increase the prospects for ex-service personnel, those still serving and for those in transition from military to civilian life.

“A big part of our future plans will also focus on training, rural skills and development. By the end of this year we will have launched a pilot scheme in partnership with an agricultural college which will be a programme of taster courses covering a variety of agricultural and rural business skills. The courses will be run by professionals to give ex-military personnel a clear idea of what to expect in running a rural business.”

A public meeting to discuss the proposals from the Buchanan Trust will be held on Thursday 20 June 2013 at 18:00 in the Council Chamber, Hafod Road, Brockington.

The full consultation documents, a summary of responses and proposals can be found on the Buchanan Trust website at www.buchanan-trust.co.uk

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