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Henry Plumb Foundation goes from strength to strength

The hopes and ambitions of three more budding agricultural entrepreneurs received a substantial boost as the work of the Henry Plumb Foundation (HPF) gathers pace.

Henry Plumb Foundation beneficiary - Sarah Stobart

Sarah Stobart from Cumbria

The hopes and ambitions of three more budding agricultural entrepreneurs received a substantial boost as the work of the Henry Plumb Foundation (HPF) gathers pace.

Following successful interviews on Monday 14th July with HPF trustees, the talented youngsters, whose projects ranged from a sheep scanning operation to developing a gift shop selling regional produce, were rewarded with financial support and mentors from the trust which is dedicated to encouraging young people to forge careers in agriculture.

“The quality and diversity of the applications we are receiving is outstanding,” says trust founder Lord Plumb, who listened to the youngsters pitch their business ideas alongside an expert panel including Professor John Alliston of the Royal Agricultural University, sheep specialist John Thorley and respected agri-communicator David Richardson.

“Ideas are well developed, have real commercial application and the young people have great enthusiasm and determination. Our new website now makes it even easier for young people to find the support they need – and also welcomes those interested in supporting the trust by donating financially or giving their time as mentors. It is gratifying to be able to help young people that have such a strong desire to enhance not only their own lives but make a positive contribution to the industry.”

25 young people have now received awards: this latest round of successful candidates includes:

  • Chris McWhirter, 22, from Oxfordshire who will be using the award to develop his sheep scanning business by incorporating an EID reader allowing him to offer year on year performance recording.
  • Tom Martindale, 26, will be expanding his small business of breeding sheep for lamb, run alongside his family’s established, home reared and processed pork business. The impending award will allow him to increase his flock size, improve point of sale material and add value to his products by producing sausages, burgers, BBQ products and put recently acquired charcuterie skills to use.
  • Sarah Stobart, 21, alecturer in agriculture at Newton Rigg College, Cumbria will be using her award to develop the diversification projects and long term sustainability of Howbeck Lodge, her family’s 250 acre sheep farm – the only ‘Feather Down Farm’ (family glamping on the farm) in the Lake District. Sarah is now developing a gift shop featuring regional produce including ‘Herdy’ items, celebrating her Herdwick ewes, and meat produced on the farm.

New applicants – new website

Anyone interested in applying for a grant, or becoming a mentor, should start by visiting the newly re-launched Henry Plumb Foundation website.

It introduces the kind of people and projects that the foundation funds and explains how the finance, support and interview process all work.

They will be able to meet previous award winners in the ‘Henry’s Heroes’ section and the handpicked team of industry and academic experts that make up ‘Henry’s Team’, of advisors.

New applicants are now being accepted in readiness for the next round of awards to be presented at the end of the year. To apply, or find out about becoming a mentor, visit:

The Henry Plumb Foundation

In a bid to help young farmers with business and study, Lord Plumb is working with a team of trustees and advisors to develop the Henry Plumb Foundation as a lasting legacy of encouragement and support for those keen to establish or further-develop their future in the industry.

Its target is to raise £2million, with the annual income used to provide scholarships and bursaries to young people and a mentoring network, all to deliver against 5 key aims:


  • To target young people (18-35) who may demonstrate flair in the field of communication and leadership and give them the skills to contribute more effectively for the good of the wider public (Advancement in Life)
  • To provide the means, through education and training, to enable young people (18-35) to think broadly and to present ideas that will drive future food agricultural and environmental development for the good of the general population (Education)
  • To provide the means through travel scholarships and international educational programmes for young people (18-35) to learn about the cultures and international food policies so that the people of the UK will benefit from informed international cooperation (Education)
  • To foster the recognition in young people (18-35) of the importance of working with others. To develop the team approach and enhance the spirit of cooperation (Advancement in Life)
  • To encourage and mentor young agricultural entrepreneurs who are aspiring to contribute to the UK economy but who do not possess that necessary knowledge and skills to achieve their aims (Advancement in Life)


  • To advance education by providing grants to young people between the ages of 18 and 35 to give them opportunities (in all parts of the world) to learn about land based industries which for this purpose includes the enhancement of ecosystems’ diversity, water management, energy production, waste management and food production (“land based industries”)
  • To advance in life young people between the ages of 18 and 35 by providing support and activities which develop their entrepreneurial skills, capacities and capabilities in the land based industries to include but not by way of limitation the skills of innovation, analysing risk and personal communication.

Help could be provided in a number of practical ways:

  • As a grant and used for example for a business start- up, funding as an intern, overseas exchanges, attendance at technical, management or leadership courses,
  • The provision of a relevant business mentor for a period of up to 2 years

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