We take great pride in inviting a select number of regional, national and international charities to join us at The English Country Garden Festival each year - with their vibrant stands and outreach activities taking pride of place on our croquet lawn throughout the festival weekend.
It’s a chance for each charity to share more of the wonderful work they do, engage others, and of course fundraise. And it’s Coombe Trenchards way of giving something back to such worthy causes with our festival attracting 3000+ visitors each year.
In these final days leading up to the 8th year of our much loved festival, we caught up with Emily Lynch, Events Fundraising Manager at Send a Cow. Scroll down to see what Emily had to say.
What has an international development charity got to do with the English Country Garden Festival?
What is Send a Cow? Do you really send cows?
It is true, we started out by sending cows to Uganda in response to an appeal to end severe malnutrition, and cows are still essential to many of our projects for transforming soil fertility. But Send a Cow is now much bigger than our name suggests, and in some of the countries where we work - such as Ethiopia - cows don’t really feature.
So what does the charity do?
Send a Cow provides rural African families with down to earth, practical solutions that eradicate hunger and poverty. Eighty per cent of our staff come from the countries where we work. We’re about African-designed solutions that are developed with, and for, the communities we support.
When was the charity founded and by whom?
Send a Cow was set up by a group of Christian dairy farmers from the UK in 1988. Outraged at EU milk quotas, which were forcing them to slaughter healthy dairy cows, and in response to an appeal from Uganda for milk, they embarked on a project, which was set to become the innovative charity it is today. Hear from Devon founding farmer David Bragg, in person.
We understand that helping families to grow their own food is an integral part of the Send a Cow mission. Many festival stall holders and visitors are also passionate growers too. Can you elaborate on how you help the families Send a Cow supports to start growing their own produce?
Rural Africa is rich with opportunity, and we know that where there’s land, there is hope. Hope is central to all we do, and while agriculture is a vital part of the process, the heart of our organisation is with people – families and communities – and the opportunities they build from the land. People in our projects learn all sorts of new skills, from mulching to how to use manure to enrich the soil and power their stoves.
Connecting with the community by being present and taking part in events such as our English Country Garden Festival must play a fairly important role when it comes to building awareness of how the charity works and for fundraising of course – can you tell us a little more about your programmes?
Our projects include a focus on gender and social development, business development, as well as farm systems, and all of these elements are equally integral to the success of our programmes. You can find out all about our impact on our website, where there are many incredible stories of people growing their own futures, free from hunger.
Summer is a busy time with many festivals, events and shows taking place across the counties. Please share some of the exciting places our readers might be able to find Send a Cow over the next few months?
You’re right, summer is busy. We’ll be at lots of events over the coming months, from the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, to Ride London, to the Royal Parks Half Marathon. We’re also running a summer campaign to ask people to hold their own events – an African Coffee Break that helps give coffee farming families the break they need to succeed. Download the fundraising pack from our website after the English Country Garden Festival, and why not see if there’s a hole in your social calendar we can fill!
Fundraising events are vital to any charity - are you able to share any highlights of some particularly successful fundraising events that Send a Cow have attended recently, along with an idea of what the funds have been able to help Send a Cow achieve?
Our Community & Events team attend lots of events; back in March, we attended the 2019 Bath Marathon to support our team of 90 runners! The team raised over £25,000 in support of our work, which could help fund a herd of local cows, enabling 119 families to lift themselves out of poverty. Most recently, a group of our fantastic volunteer Ambassadors ran a “Send a Cow information stand” at Toby’s Garden Festival; the sale of our merchandise raised just under £200, which could fund the necessary seeds, tools and training to provide an allotment, to enable 2 African communities to grow themselves out of poverty.
The English Country Garden Festival at Coombe Trenchard is delighted to welcome Send a Cow to our charity panel this year – can you give our festival visitors a taste of what you have planned for your stand?
Our amazing team of volunteer Ambassadors from the Devon region will be representing Send a Cow at this year’s event. Our stand will feature a colourful information display, with interesting facts about how the work we do helps African farmers to get growing! There will also be a special “bag garden” and “tip tap” display, demonstrating how, with practical training in simple agricultural techniques, our support enables families living in poverty to grow food for themselves and be self-sufficient. There will also be the opportunity to purchase some of our popular garden themed merchandise!
How might our festival visitors be able to get involved with Send a Cow after the English Country Garden Festival?
There are lots of ways that people can get involved, in fact there’s a whole section of our website dedicated just to that. But you don’t have to be a marathon runner or a star baker, we are always on the look-out for people to talk about our work, too.
Look out for the Send a Cow stand on the croquet lawn at the festival, where you can hear all about our work with families in rural Africa, and find out about how our bag gardens feed families and transform lives!
Our thanks Emily and to all at Send a Cow for the work that they do, and for embracing the opportunity to join us and be part of the English Country Garden Festival this year.