Letter of Support for Newton Rigg

14th May 2021

Below is the letter of support, Chief Executive Richard Rankin has written to the Chairman and Deputy Chairman in support of the continuation and protection of Newton Rigg college:

Dear Sirs

Further to our recent conversation, please find below a statement of support on behalf of H&H Group.

As one of is one of Cumbria’s leading rural businesses, we have been involved with Newton Rigg College for many years and consider it to be an integral part of life within the county.

Building foundations, educating, attracting and retaining the next generation within Cumbria as a whole is vital to future-proofing agriculture. Newton Rigg embodies this vision and shares the aim of building a stronger community based on its key rural assets. It is a key partner to any enterprise such as ours.

As a business, our mission is to encourage and help to add value to the economies we serve. I am proud to say that Newton Rigg is and should remain an essential partner to our work at H&H. We have over 300 members of staff who are deeply rooted in our rural communities and many of our team graduated from the college.

We have worked alongside the college for many years and students have been key players when attending and taking part in our two main annual events, the Borderway Agri and Dairy Expos. They have brought their knowledge and skills from the college to these events and have taken part in the competitions. Later, going on to help sustain and add to the communities they have often returned to, and to businesses such as ours, which links directly to the H&H mission.

Agriculture, and the business of agriculture, is an ever more complex and demanding industry, with the skillset needed to succeed growing on a year-to-year basis. Farming is no longer just handed down experiences and knowing when to take stock to the mart. Machinery, animal husbandry, breeding, welfare, law and regulation, grants, business planning, diversity and environmental awareness – all these are vital. These industries need science, engineering, chemistry, and a host of other skills and knowledge. We need to identify the gaps in our skills base and learn how to spot those which the future will throw in our paths and we need courses at all levels to support this.

When somewhere like Newton Rigg is closed, this flies in the face of all logic and you have to wonder whether we are really doing enough to keep the provision of courses and increasingly essential skill sets close to where they are needed most, our local communities.

Without educational settings such as Newton Rigg, I worry for the future of agriculture in our area and local communities as a whole. Forcing young people to seek learning and training establishments out with Cumbria, is making it easier for them never to return, and I believe it is a very short-sighted decision.

It would be an inexcusable shame to lose a centre for such practical education which guides the next generation into vital land-based careers. Newton Rigg College deserves a future, as our young people deserve opportunities to learn where they live, and this vision is one I offer my full support to.

Yours sincerely

Richard Rankin
Chief Executive
H&H Group plc

For more information visit the Newton Rigg Limited website