The Herdwick Sheep Breeders’ Association (HSBA) provides equipment and support to organisers of traditional Cumbrian agricultural shows and Shepherds’ meets.
Farming in Protected Landscapes ( FiPL) funding was used to enable cashless payments to be made in areas with no, or poor, broadband – through the purchase of a bespoke, mobile satellite broadband system. Plus, a second round of funding covered the cost of three gazebos, a suitcase generator, and 12 hand-held, portable, two-way radios to improve onsite communications.
This FiPL funding supplements a bigger package of support provided by HSBA, thereby securing the long-term viability of shows.
They are a not-for-profit, mutual society serving the farming community, set up to maintain the purity, the constitution and character of a breed that can survive in the high fells. In the Lakes, the Herdwick is central to the centuries old agro-pastoral systems, helping to shape a landscape loved by millions which now enjoys World Heritage Status.
Agricultural shows are an important part of the Lake District farming year and especially for Herdwicks. For instance, the Eskdale Show, the premier show for Herdwick sheep, is one of the longest established. Whilst several others also celebrate the best of the area’s heritage and are a learning opportunity for the public and farmers. They also contribute to the local economy.
About 20 shows take place each year (June to October) across the Lakes, some are centuries old. They attract between high hundreds to many thousands of people attending.
To help show organisers with the task of putting on these important events, in very rural locations, the HSBA offers a package of support.
It includes the loan of free sheep hurdles, a free mobile drinking water bowser, a block public liability insurance policy and marquees at a heavily discounted rate.
Now, thanks to two rounds of Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) funding, cashless payments can be taken, using a mobile satellite internet system, site communications have been improved with a set of walkie talkies and there are extra gazebos.
Without this support some of these shows may not be able to run.
Roy Jenkinson of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders Association commented:
“The area would lose events that help numerous rural businesses and provide a place for farming communities to come together. Visitors would also miss out on an opportunity to explore, enjoy and understand the landscape.”
“I found the process very productive. It started with an initial chat with the farming officer. We looked at how our plans could fit the funding criteria. It was useful to get feedback on that ahead of help with completing the application form.
Following success with our first round of funding we applied for a second round. We’re in the process of submitting a third application now. We hope that will help us with sheep demonstrations to show people how we gather Herdwicks, what’s so unique about them, and generally explain about the farming year.”