The founder of England’s first community-owned farm is in line for recognition after being nominated in the outstanding individuals’ section of the 2023 National Lottery Awards.
Charlotte Hollins has been shortlisted in the Environment category as a result of her incredible work in the local community.
Charlotte’s father, Arthur Hollins, was a pioneer of organic farming who took on the tenancy of Fordhall Farm in 1929, when he was just 14 years old. Following Arthur’s death in 2005, Charlotte and her brother Ben had to battle to save the farm and their family home, at the age of 19 and 21.
The formidable pair established the Fordhall Community Land Initiative in 2006, bringing the farm into community ownership with 8,000 people from across the world now owning a stake. Charlotte now manages the Fordhall Community Land Initiative, with Ben as their tenant farmer.
With the help of National Lottery funding, including a £62,500 grant from The National Lottery Community Fund in 2022, Fordhall now offers a range of opportunities for adults with learning difficulties and vulnerable young people, encouraging them to grow and cook fresh produce, help with conservation work, and engage with a variety of activities on the farm.
Charlotte said: “It’s with thanks to our staff, volunteers and members that we’ve been able to achieve so much.
“We are so grateful for all the effort they put in with all aspects of the farm, from conservation, to maintenance, to the events which encourage people to connect with the landscape and environment – which we will be especially busy with now the Summer Holidays are here!
“Whether you want to join in with a camping adventure, try some edible bugs, or meet a Gruffalo, we have you covered. I am especially excited about our new seasonal trail, which celebrates the work of my dad, Arthur – teaching little humans all about foggage farming and healthy eating. Whilst Fordhall is free to visit, some of our upcoming events require booking through our website, fordhallfarm.com.
If we are successful in winning the awards, we intend to use the £5,000 to support mentoring and coaching of other community groups wishing to learn from Fordhall’s incredible journey.”
The National Lottery Awards are the annual celebration of the ordinary individuals and
organisations who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding. This year, 3,780 people and projects were nominated for the work they have carried out with support from The National Lottery.
Over the summer, a panel made up of representatives from The National Lottery and
partners will decide the winners in each of the individual categories.
Winners will be revealed in the autumn and will receive a £5,000 cash prize for their
organisation and a coveted National Lottery Awards trophy.
Jonathan Tuchner, from The National Lottery, said: “The National Lottery Awards honour
those who have stepped up and have gone the extra mile to make a difference in their
communities, especially during these challenging times.
Thanks to National Lottery players and the £30 million raised each week for good causes, thousands of individuals and projects throughout the UK have been making an incredible difference in their areas, and this is our chance to highlight and celebrate the exceptional work of these selfless local heroes.”
The outstanding individuals’ section of this year’s National Lottery Awards will honour unsung heroes in the following categories:
- Arts, Culture & Film
- Community & Charity
- Young Hero (Under 25s)
There will also be a Special Achievement Award to celebrate an exceptional individual
whose selfless dedication has improved the lives of the people around them.
In addition to the outstanding individuals’ category, an online public vote will be held this
year to find The National Lottery UK Project of the Year. Nominees will be whittled down to 17 finalists, with a UK-wide public vote in September deciding the winner.
For more information about projects funded by The National Lottery or The National Lottery Awards visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk