Economic Development Covid Business Newsletter, Courses and Opportunities

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Economic Development Covid Business Newsletter, Courses and Opportunities

Hinkley Point C Pre-16 VWEX

This programme will run in the evening from Monday 21st June to Thursday 24th June 2021 and is for 14-16 year olds with an interest in engineering, construction, apprenticeships and Higher Level apprenticeships.

Applications close at 12:00 on Wednesday 16th June.

  • This virtual work experience programme is free
  • This programme includes live events on specific dates
  • You need to apply to take part
  • You'll gain new skills to use on your CV

Here's a taste of what you'll be doing:

  • Explore the amazing world of Hinkley Point C and learn about this hugely important project
  • Shrink to the size of an atom and take a look inside a nuclear reactor!
  • Find out what it’s like to work at HPC and the different job roles available
  • Take a brief from the team at HPC and come up with a response to real project issues 
  • Test your knowledge of HPC with an interactive quiz
  • Learn what you’ll need to do if you’d like to work at HPC one day

On successful completion you will receive a certificate which you can use in CVs and future applications.

The link to the programme page: Click here


Somerset Social Enterprise Network- June Newsletter:


June - and we finally have some warmth! June 21st is fast approaching with the hopeful easing of lockdown restrictions, but if you need support to get going again or find a new path for your social enterprise.

To View the Newsletter: Click here

Somerset Works


Exmoor Hill Farming Network Update:

A Defra-funded trial on 26 Exmoor farms and smallholdings has helped provide evidence to Government for the true cost of delivering public goods in a National Park alongside a viable farm business.

Working with the Exmoor Hill Farming Network (EHFN) and environmental consultancy firm Rural Focus, Exmoor National Park Authority was commissioned by Defra to test principles for mapping the delivery of public goods on individual farms, to help identify key areas for investment and collaboration. It’s hoped the findings will help identify ways to better support farmers in protected landscapes ahead of the transition to the government’s new flagship scheme for Environmental Land Management (ELM), and a new pilot due to take place later this year.


At an online EHFN event held last night (Wednesday 26th May) to report on the findings, Robert Deane of Rural Focus told farmers: “We combined several layers of data to build a picture of what each farm delivers for the environment and for people and created heat maps to show the potential to scale up these activities. The outgoing basic payments scheme simply isn’t set up to account for this level of detail and in some ways hasn’t properly incentivised farmers wanting to ‘do the right thing’ for nature. This is particularly true in upland areas like Exmoor, where a volatile market and tighter margins leave very little room for manoeuvre. Based on our findings, we hope the new system will be fairer and simpler.”


Key findings fed-back to Defra in the final report include:

  • Potential threats to important designated habitats in upland areas like Exmoor. Any fall in farm payments could drive a drop in land under agri-environment schemes. Sites such as heather moorland, wetlands and wood pasture were identified as particularly vulnerable, because the grazing regimes that sustain them often only marginally benefit the farm business. Figures reported by National Parks England already show a downward trend, with a nearly 17% drop in the amount of farmland on Exmoor under such schemes since 2015.


  • Potential barriers to farms being able to access ELM funding. The report draws attention to high demand for skilled advisors to help draw up ELM proposals, with 88% of respondents to a survey of EHFN members stating they expect to need the services of an adviser to help them complete their ELM Land Management Plan, but only around half knowing where they might get this advice.


  • Opportunities for achieving nature recovery at landscape scale. Mapping of farm clusters helped provide evidence for collaborative working on shared environmental outcomes. For example helping to create nature corridors or deliver improvements to water quality or flood resilience. This could help with mapping out Nature Recovery Networks, which may become a requirement for Local Authorities if proposals in the new Environmental Bill are enacted.


  • Difficulty accounting for farming’s contribution to ‘sense of place’ – the features of the landscape and local culture that come together to create the overall experience. The report highlights more research is needed to be able to quantify aspects such as cultural heritage, historic features, wildlife, public access and engagement.


The work builds on an earlier ‘Exmoor’s Ambition’ report presented to former Secretary of State Michael Gove on a visit to Exmoor in June 2018.


Training News

It has been good to get back to some sort of normality and provide members with outstanding training courses, including Safe use of Pesticides and Emergency at Work First Aid. Thank you to the attendees for their cooperation to ensure a covid secure environment. We are very grateful to A and B Contractors and Castle Hill Estate at Filleigh for providing training venues this month. Do get in touch if you require any training as we will be arranging a further sprayer course in September at Cutcombe and First Aid in the Exford area in July. Trailer tests are resuming and thankyou once again to our patient candidates who are waiting while the effects of the lockdown see a back log.


Project Update

RDPE funded Project to tackle Sheep Scab on Exmoor and the surrounding areas

With our farmer engagement meetings coming up, we are starting to think about where we may be able to focus our efforts into working with farmers in particular clusters across Exmoor and the immediate areas. The intention with this is to give us a good balance of locations across the moor and to pilot a cluster approach which would hopefully give us a greater chance of irradiating scab where it is identified. We are very keen for farmers to come forward in these areas to join us for one of a series of farmer engagement meetings scheduled in early June to find out more about the project. Alternatively if you are unable to attend one of the meetings but would still like to take part, please feel free to contact us as we are keen for as much engagement as possible.  

Potential areas: North Molton /Molland Moor / Anstey Common areas,  Withypool / Exford, Wistlandpound Reservoir/Blackmoor Gate areas, Wimbleball Lake,  Heddon Valley, Holnicote Estate, Brendon, Simonsbath /Challacombe, Bratton Fleming, Brendon Hills, Exe Valley.

Finally, if you aren't in any of the areas we've identified but feel as though you and your neighbours may benefit from engagement please let us know, this is by no means a definitive list and we are keen to hear from all interested sheep farmers.




Peer Support Groups

Whilst we await the next announcement on the lifting of further lockdown restrictions later this month, we hope to resume farm visits from the end of June .

Exmoor Women in Farming Group Meeting – save the date for now.

General catch up with members and guest speaker, tbc.

Date: Tuesday 15th June 2021 Time: 8pm – 9pm Venue: From your own home via zoom. Further details to follow, once confirmed.


Next Generation Group ( Under 40’s)

Subject to lifting of lockdown, this groups first farm visit will be held at Horner Farm, Porlock  by kind permission of Holly Purdey and Mark Brewer later this month. Watch this space for further details.


Other Interest

Free Business Support

The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme Exmoor Area - places still available this Summer 2021

Due to Covid restrictions and a delayed start to the Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme there are still places available for this FREE programme, starting this summer. 

It is a series of FREE business skills workshops delivered by top agricultural consultants, especially designed for family farm businesses.  It covers topics such as business planning, practical cost management, business health check/bench marking and much more. To express an interest or for any queries please contact Charmain Dascombe (local co-ordinator - Exmoor Area) or 07881 406306. Open to all members in the Exmoor and Greater Exmoor area.