A new Norfolk Countrysiders club is set to open in Holt as the rural youth group continues its post-Covid rebuild - with the help of a £20,000 charitable grant.

The Countrysiders, the junior branch of Norfolk's Young Farmers' Clubs (NYFC) for children aged 10–16, was hit hard by the pandemic, with 15 clubs closing due to financial instability.

Three Norfolk clubs have since re-opened - Harleston, North Elmham and Wymondham - whose members meet fortnightly for fun, practical and informative activities linked to the countryside.

They will soon be joined by Holt Countrysiders, which opens on April 30 at Gresham’s Senior School.

Norfolk YFC says the clubs are open to young people from all walks of life, not just those from agricultural backgrounds, with the only entry requirement being "a passion for the countryside."

Of the 507 Norfolk YFC members, only 52 are Countrysiders. Norfolk YFC is keen to attract new members and reopen more clubs - so it is also looking for vital volunteers to "support our young people through their YFC journey into employment".

Funding of £20,000 donated from Norfolk-based farming charity the Clan Trust will support the general running of the clubs and help with the employment of new staff.

County YFC organiser Alison Andrews said: "Our office staff are currently managing the clubs from the Norfolk YFC head office at the Norfolk Showground, but they are also looking to employ someone in the future to train up volunteers and oversee the reopening of the Countrysiders clubs.

“The Clan Trust has helped pay for training as well as the workshops ahead of our winter competitions day. Arranging more meetings outside the clubs’ venues is also on our agenda, and organising these becomes more achievable with the generous donation.

“We are eager to reopen some of the Countrysiders clubs, with the aim of around 25 members per club. The opening of some of these has already been discussed - we are pleased to announce that Holt Countrysiders is opening, and we are looking to reopen Dereham Countrysiders in September."

Anyone wishing to support or join Norfolk YFC and Countrysiders should contact alison@norfolkyfc.co.uk. 

For more details on the new Holt Countysiders club contact holt_cs@norfolkyfc.co.uk or the YFC county office on 01603 748931.