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YFC members shape future work on inclusivity and climate change

YFC members shape future work on inclusivity and climate change

Ensuring YFCs are for everyone and reducing their impact on climate change were two major topics members tackled at NFYFC’s annual Summit in February.

The event, which is open to all YFC members to attend and is in its fourth year, was created to involve YFC members in the future direction of the Federation.

In 2024, NFYFC is focusing on supporting clubs on inclusivity and diversity as well as the challenges around climate change.

Two industry thought leaders were invited to join the meeting to spark discussion and inspire members to be trailblazers in their communities.

Navaratnam Partheebam OBE, farm vet and co-founder of The British Veterinary Ethnicity & Diversity Society (BVEDS) talked about the four main areas of diversity that make us what we are: identity, experiences, biological/physical and education.

What we don’t talk about enough is about the people within our sector and our organisations. It’s easy for us to say, ‘we’re open, we’re fine,’ but what do other people see from the outside in? Do they see what we see? Are there role models, opportunities, access?

How can we change ourselves to break those barriers so we can be more open and we can be more accepting and understand other people’s opinions and ideas?

Navaratnam Partheebam OBE

, farm vet and co-founder of The British Veterinary Ethnicity & Diversity Society (BVEDS)

Following the talk, members broke out into groups to discuss how their YFCs currently operated and to feedback any ideas they had on how they could be more inclusive.

Holly Gilbert from Devon suggested clubs could adapt their events and activities to be more inclusive so people from different backgrounds are encouraged to join. Holly provided examples of clubs checking that event venues were suitable for those with access requirements, and being aware of religious festivals across multiple faiths as ways YFC can adapt to include everyone.

“If a member in a wheelchair did want to attend, we’d make sure it was accessible, so why don’t we start making those changes before so future members feel like they can come along? If we wait for them to come, they may never come and it’s just going to be a vicious circle,” said Holly during the Summit.

Climate change

Conversations moved to climate change after a talk from Dr Ceris Jones, the NFU’s Climate Change Advisor.

After explaining the challenges to the sector that climate change posed, Dr Jones asked YFC members to consider the opportunities and what more they needed to help them make changes.

“The next 30 years are going to be the most important in human history. In my book that makes you some of the most important people on this planet,” said Dr Jones.

Dr Ceris Jones

With a General Election on the horizon, she also encouraged members to contact their MPs or prospective MPs to question them on their climate change plans.

“This year, you’ve got people who want your votes. So why not ask either your MP now or your prospective MP ‘what are you doing for climate change? What is your party and government going to do for me as a young farmer that’s going to make me and my business more resilient to a changing climate and maximise my opportunities to make my contribution to a low carbon net zero economy. That would be a great question to ask,” said Dr Jones.

The event concluded with a reminder about the obligations of charity trustees and the benefits of creating a Board of Management structure.

NFYFC will be taking all the suggestions made by YFC members at the meeting and developing action plans.