A scheme to encourage tourism businesses to back rural fundraising has been launched by the Prince of Wales, at the George Hotel, Penrith, Cumbria.
The scheme, supported by the Prince's Countryside Fund, encourages tourists to donate to charity projects across struggling rural areas. Visitors making a booking or paying for a meal will be asked if they would like to add on a small donation to the overall cost.
Funds raised will go to support projects such as apprenticeships for hill farmers; jobs in rural industries; community transport schemes in rural areas and improvement projects on local pubs, post offices and village shops.
The George Hotel has already publicly backed the plan, alongside the British Beer and Pub Association; cottage company Cottages4You; the Caravan Club; and the Duchy of Cornwall Holiday Cottages; Shepherd Neame; plus a host of other rural tourism companies.
The Prince of Wales described the bond between tourism and our rural communities as a powerful one. "That is one reason why I started the Prince's Countryside Fund in 2010. For me it matters as much that those who live in urban areas have a countryside to visit and cherish as it does that farmers can continue to live and work on their land producing food for the nation."
Director of the Prince's Countryside Fund, Dawn Howard, added: "Rural tourism is a vitally important industry to the countryside. When people visit the countryside on holidays or short breaks, it is essential to remind them that farming and rural life is often precarious. This scheme will raise money to support our projects and will also help spread awareness of the importance of rural issues."
Set up in 2010, the Prince's Countryside Fund has so far donated over £3.8m in grants to more than 90 projects across the UK.