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Knowing that HOPS’ profits are invested back into Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) is one of the reasons why Lincolnshire-based Staples has remained a customer and is helping to celebrate National Young Farmers’ Week.  

The company is a proud supporter of Lincolnshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs and its Harvest Manager Lee Burrell is also a Vice President of local club North Holland YFC and the County Federation.

“It’s one of the reasons why Staples is with HOPS,” said Lee about the fact HOPS invests its profits back into the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC). “It’s helping the younger generation to do things they probably wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to do – especially in rural areas.”

Lee’s children are both active members of North Holland YFC and Staples’ support has ensured the club is well-dressed!

“Staples has helped subsidise a lot of the clothing over the last five to six years. It’s important that they present themselves well in the local community as they do a lot of great work supporting charities and local projects,” said Lee who helps out the county and club with fundraising and resolving any issues.

There are around 23,500 YFC members across England and Wales, with around 800 of them attending clubs in Lincolnshire. Lee believes that the Federation has a lot to offer to young people in local rural areas.

“I have been involved with YFC for around nine years now and over that time I have seen young kids develop from shy 10 year olds to taking on roles in the club a few year later and really coming out of themselves. It’s a great organisation that really develops confidence and skills.”

Staples grows vegetables on around 26,000 acres and HOPS will have supplied around 1300 seasonal workers to the farm by the end of the year to pick a wide selection of vegetables. The peak season is underway but with support from HOPS and a developed plan, Staples are confident they will meet their targets.

“We have a good relationship with HOPS – they’re friendly, flexible and reliable. I know they’ll always get back to me quickly in an emergency, which is reassuring when you’re dealing with large numbers of workers,” said Lee who has worked with HOPS to develop Staples’ accommodation and pastoral care.

“We have some of the best accommodation in the country with heated static caravans with double glazing,” said Lee. “We have a gym, indoor and outdoor football pitches, an on-site hairdressing salon, a well-stocked shop and communal areas with TVs and play stations.”

Staples also issue everyone with free PPE and offer a comprehensive induction programme for workers. They have a returnee rate of around 30% – with some of them being long-term returnees.

Lee added: “We have taken advice from HOPS to help us retain workers and develop our accommodation. They have helped us to get it right. And we’re reassured to know that by working with HOPS we’re supporting young people in rural areas too.”

National Young Farmers’ Week runs from 30 September until 4 October 2019.

To find out more about getting involved in the week, download a supporters pack here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/14_Wmn5pzPtpay5k35b4afOLcgAkTy6_f