Quite a tumultuous year for the Anglian Region which was due to host this year’s Nuffield Farming Conference. Under the excellent leadership of Matt Swain, an organising committee was assembled, a venue was chosen, a theme was decided upon, a menu was selected and it was all hands on deck with the fund raising & huge amounts of organisation that goes into these things, when Covid-19 struck.
As many of you will have experienced, in your own businesses and your personal lives, the virus caused much worry, head-scratching and crystal-ball gazing. Would lockdown get on top of the virus outbreak? Dare we continue to plan for the conference to go ahead? Would there be a second wave of infections? Would the chosen hotel venue still be in business by November? Would it sink and take all of Nuffield’s conference money with it?
Some of these issues were bigger than the management committee and so the Trustees were also involved in the decision making. Reluctantly, and very disappointingly for Matt, given the huge amounts of work and effort he had put in, it was agreed that the risks were too great and so the plug was pulled on the 2020 conference. Here’s hoping next year turns out better.
On a more positive note, we have received a number of people showing interest in applying for a Nuffield Scholarship. At the time of writing, in the Anglian Region we have had 10 people start an application form. I’ve been in touch with each of them, to point them in the direction of relevant parts of the Nuffield website (http://www.nuffieldscholar.org/scholarship-journey/ for anyone who’s interested) and to provide them with a ‘local’ point of contact within the organisation.
We will be running mock interviews again this year, for those applicants who want to prepare for the actual ‘interrogation’. I feel I ought to mention that Anglian Region enjoyed a 100% success rate of applicants who attended our mock interviews and were then awarded a scholarship. The format for the mock interviews is changing this year as its all moving online. Hopefully this will mean even more candidates can take part.
Looking forward, we do need more potential scholars to apply. Please keep your eyes open and your ear to the ground (not necessarily at the same time) and, if you know or hear of any good people who would benefit from a scholarship, please encourage them to apply. I’m happy to support you and them so, if you do think of anyone, please drop me a line.
Finally, it would be great to organise some events in the Anglian Region in 2021. Do let me know if you would like to host a visit, or if you have ideas for a venue or similar. Stay healthy, and here’s to next year.
Tom Chapman, Anglian Region Chair
07717 505287 | [email protected]