The Royal Countryside Fund’s (RCF) Farm for the Future programme is providing free environmental and business skills support in the Durham Dales this winter.

Hosted by Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services (UTASS), based in Middleton-in-Teesdale, RCF has limited places on its free 2023/24 programme for farming families across the Durham Dales.

An RCF spokesperson said: "The year ahead may be daunting the farming community, facing existing and new challenges, however, this programme aims to connect and support to help farmers make the best possible start to 2024.

"Over three years, Farm for the Future has achieved impressive results with 95 per cent of participating farms saying they have increased confidence in their ability to plan for the future. With an abundance of positive feedback, the programme has people and their welfare at its core – which reflects the values of the RCF."

The Northern Farmer: Free support on offer for farmers across Durham Dales through UTASS-hosted RCF events

On offer are workshops on business efficiency and environmental schemes, bespoke workshops tailored to the interests of participants, and ongoing and one-to-one support.

A Farm for the Future participant who took part in the 2022 programme with UTASS reflected on the programme, saying: “I found the programme really beneficial as a lot of this is new to me, the staff at UTASS and the speakers at the workshops were amazing and really knew what they were talking about and made it manageable for us to understand and follow.”

People can register now to join the environmental workshops taking place on February 21 and 27 in Teesdale and Weardale.

The RCF said limited places are available. Any owner-occupied or tenant farm currently in receipt of BPS in England can take part. To learn more about the Farm for the Future programme contact UTASS via email, call 01833 641010 or visit

Inspired by its founder, King Charles, the RCF aims to enable change and develop resilience in rural communities.