Still time – apply for countryside Student Support Fund


If you are studying a land-based course (or are considering doing so), then the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Agricultural Society are offering you a chance to gain financial support while you study through their innovative countryside Student Support Fund. But hurry – the closing date is end of this month.

The brainchild of the organisers of the Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show, this fund, only in its second year, has been set up solely to support students entering into the agricultural, horticultural, countryside and land-based industries. The financial help may be used towards college or university course fees, books and equipment or even to help meet transport costs of getting to a place of study from a rural location.

sheep shearer at work -  countryside Student Support Fund will help farmers of the future
Farmers of the future can get support from a Student Support Fund aimed at supporting rural occupations.

Matthew Price, Chair of the Student Support Fund initiative, said: “From my previous work in the NFU and roles as a governor of a land-based school and college, I know that financial restraints create barriers to students accessing and fulfilling education and training. The countryside Student Support Fund sets out to ease those financial pressures by offering modest but worthwhile grants up to a maximum of £1500.”

Last year, the fund gave out £6000 in grants ranging from money for hard-cap boots and safety helmets to helping fund course tuition fees. 

Matthew added: “we know from the experience we gained in the first year that we can make a very meaningful difference.”

The easy-to-complete applications must be submitted by 31st May via

countryside student support scheme for blacksmithing
Students studying rural careers such as blacksmithing can get financial support through a Student Support Scheme.

The Gillingham and Shaftesbury Agricultural Society raises money for this countryside Student Support Fund scheme with various fundraising events – the Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show, Spring Countryside Show, and this year there’s also a charity barn dance on Wednesday 10 August at Turnpike Showground.

Event Organiser & Company Secretary James Cox said: “People who attend our events help us to truly make a difference to someone’s education and future prospects by supporting us, and therefore the Student Support Fund. The Fund is vital as we know that rural livelihoods are crucial to our county.”

To donate to the Student Support Fund or to buy tickets for the Fund barn dance, contact the Show Office via or 01747 823955 or


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