Working Out The Finances
You need to decide how much to invest in hosting school visits, whether or not to charge for them and whether you are able to apply for any financial support. Here are some points to consider:
Do you want to charge?
- Be clear about your costs including your time, your staff's time and the use of resources and facilities on site.
- Decide if you are offering school visits as an activity that supports and enhances other aspects of your farm business and its values or if you intend to make a profit from the visits.
- Remember that a school which is paying for a visit will have different expectations from one which is coming free of charge.
- If you are going to charge, think if you can offer an incentive such as discounts for larger groups or multiple bookings.
- If you don’t want to charge for the whole visit, consider charging only for extra activities such as workshops or cooking activities.
- Consider the benefit of increased footfall to other aspects of your farm business such as a farm shop, pick-your-own or cafe.
- Check whether you need to make any amendments to your insurance cover – schools will need a copy of your public liability insurance certificate.
- Set targets in terms of how many visits you hope to achieve and, if charging, what income they may generate.
How else can you get funding?
- Some national charities support environmental and education schemes eg www.ernestcooktrust.org.uk, www.esmeefairbairn.org.uk, www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk. The Directory of Social Change has information on grant-making trusts for capital projects.
- Your local Agricultural Society, or other local charities, may have funds for farming/countryside and education initiatives.
- Local or national companies may help with sponsorship and/or volunteers.
- If you are in a Higher Tier scheme through Natural England you may be eligible for capital items: https://www.gov.uk/countryside-stewardship-grants/access-capital-items-ac1