TWO farming organisations are now faced with being made homeless when the Newton Rigg campus closes this summer.

Both the Farmer Network and Cumbria Federation of Young Farmers Club have been told by owners York-based Askham Bryan they must vacate offices they have on the Penrith campus no later than July 31.

Farmer Network managing director Adam Day said: “Very sadly, the demise of Newton Rigg College seems inevitable. Penrith is an ideal central base for the Farmer Network, and we would like to ensure that we have good access for those members who need to visit the office for meetings and to benefit from other types of support that we offer.”

Cumbria YFC County chairman Neil Curr commented that: “As a community, Cumbria YFC is absolutely devastated at the closure of Newton Rigg. The college has been the starting point for many of our young farmers’ careers in agriculture and farming. It is extremely hard to accept that the decision to close Newton Rigg has been taken by those outside of the county, with seemingly little knowledge or understanding of the needs of the young people of Cumbria”.

With time running out both organisations now have no option but to look for new office premises.

Newton Rigg has provided Cumbria YFC with “peppercorn rent” office space since the 1940s and has been the central hub of the organisation.

Chief officer Joanne Mills explained “Cumbria YFC is a registered charity, providing much-needed youth services and support to the young people of Cumbria. As a charity, we rely on funding, grants, donations and fundraising events in order to keep operating.”

The Farmer Network is a not-for-profit support organisation for the farming communities of Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales, with an aim to help farmers and their families run viable and sustainable businesses, reacting to every challenge and opportunity that they may face.

In recent months, the Network has continued to run weekly online meetings for farmers many of whom faced a long and isolated winter.

Over the years, the Farmer Network has worked closely with Newton Rigg and Cumbria YFC in what was an excellent relationship, sharing ideas information and training courses to the benefit of the wider farming community. Now with time running out both tenants have no option but to look for new office premises.

Mr Day hopes that other businesses or premises with farming connections may have some office space available for either or both organisations close to, or within Penrith.

He added: “We’re happy to look at any office space, and our requirements are modest. We know our support and services are much valued by the farming community, and we need to find a new home to ensure that the Network continues to serve its members in future."