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• S T O P • P R E S S •
highground
HIGHGROUND AND BUCHANAN TRUST
Joint working statement
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THE BOSBURY ESTATE
A National Facility for Great Britain's Veterans

The Buchanan Trust was founded in 1918 for homeless war veterans by Robert Buchanan, who left the 700 acre estate in trust to the nation in memory of his son Alan who fell in World War 1.

His intention was to provide employment and housing for those who had served their country, wanted a career in farming and were in need of assistance.

With no new grants to ex-military applicants of farming tenure since 1998, and only two ex-military tenants, the Charity Commission advised the appointment of a new independent trustee, the Buchanan Trustee Company, which took place on 26th May 2016.

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Two of our livestock farms
STARTING POINT - 7 FARMS LET SINGLY TO TENANTS

The new trustees “inherited” 700 acres from Herefordshire Council comprising 7 relatively “old fashioned” c.100 acre farms let to single tenants of which only two had ex-military backgrounds.

The Charity Commission had stipulated in October 2014 that farm property leases should not be renewed unless they gave their prior specific approval. Accordingly the three “commercial” non ex-military farm tenants were given 12 months’ notice and have left. (They were actually warned of these plans 6 years previously).

These 3 farms have been consolidated into a 300 acre in-hand farm, with a new farm manager and assistant, to generate money to spend on the beneficiaries. The woodlands are also managed in-hand. The remaining 3 tenanted farms are managed by Knight Frank the Agents.
 

“THE VISION” – SUPPORT FOR MANY MORE VETERANS

The vision, which is to be achieved over a 6 year period, as existing leases expire, is to create a national facility for former service men and women who live in a community that helps each other to recover, grow, learn and work:-

  • the 700 acres (eventually) and associated buildings, being managed in-hand as a single farm employing veterans wherever possible and building a brand for the food produced - some of which will be sold locally.
  • Residential accommodation for 30+ beneficiaries, according to current research, is anticipated to be mainly for single, homeless, ex-service personnel including those who have just left the services who wish to make a successful return to civilian life but have not yet done this or decided how to achieve it. Some units will be for people in wheelchairs and/or with serious disabilities; others will be larger, for those with children.  Accommodation is being created by re-modelling the farmhouses, cottages (save those needed for any staff) and redundant agricultural buildings let on “Almshouse” licences, with maintenance payments attracting Housing Benefit, for periods of 6 to 18 months before they return to civilian life. They will be in clusters around the estate farms in order to create a sense of community where veterans can support each other.
  • for the beneficiaries’ occupation and training, there will be a “working farm-based recovery unit”, with about 30 acres, possibly provided in partnership with another charity with a track record of providing rehabilitative support. The farm will require support staff for managing and reviewing the “individually centred support plans” for the beneficiaries.

  • More commercial skills will be learnt through on-estate courses for rural and construction sectors resulting in certificates that will help veterans gain jobs or give them the confidence to establish their own businesses. Some of these will be in commercial units being converted on one or more of the estate farms.

  • The estate has provided land for 'The Cartshed' - a woodland skills therapy charity providing courses in crafting and creating products from coppiced timber grown in our woods; they will also grow their own horticultural produce for lunch.

  • The large area of the estate has the potential for a broad range of activities to support veterans in due course. Many of these will be delivered with partner charities and as funds permit. Future activities proposed to date include an art studio and adventure training facility.