Local MP meets team from Lauriston Farm to discuss rural youth unemployment
Priti Patel, the MP for Witham, has taken part in a roundtable discussion led by Lauriston Farm, in her constituency, alongside representatives from The National Lottery Community Fund, Essex County Council and Community College Initiative to discuss horticultural and agricultural employment opportunities for young people, particularly those with special needs.
The meeting on Friday 25th November 2022, took place at Lauriston Farm, a community-owned charitable community benefit society running a 210-acre biodynamic/organic farm, based near Goldhanger in Priti’s constituency. Earlier this year, they were awarded £114,530 worth of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to support the growth of their Social Farming Initiative.
During the roundtable meeting Priti, Spencer Christy, Farm Director at Lauriston Farm and other attendees discussed ways to improve training and employment opportunities for students with special needs and young people in rural areas, which included a discussion around providing more support for people with learning disabilities and ethnic minority groups, to help them get into the agricultural sector. At the conclusion of their meeting, Priti and the delegates were taken on a brief tour of the farm.
Speaking after the meeting, Priti said: “I’m grateful for the opportunity to meet with everyone at Lauriston Farm and other key organisations working on this issue locally. The Witham constituency has many rural areas, and I have championed rural employment opportunities to ensure that our young people who live in these areas have great career opportunities. I hope that the recent funding secured by Lauriston Farm, thanks to National Lottery players, will go some way to support this.”
Spencer Christy, Farm Director at Lauriston Farm said “We are most grateful for the opportunity to discuss these issues with Priti and discuss how our collaboration with the National Lottery Community Fund will enable us to continue to support young people, especially those with learning disabilities, into employment. There were some very positive ideas generated and Priti’s interest and support are much appreciated.”
Helen Bushell, Senior Head of Region: London, South East & East at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, who raise over £30 million a week for good causes across the UK, we are able to support fantastic projects like Lauriston Farm. Their work to improve employment opportunities and boost valuable life skills for young people in Witham means that they, their families and the wider community feel better supported to prosper and thrive. I look forward to hearing more about how their plans progress in the future.“