A NORTHUMBERLAND woman who returned to the UK after four years working in Australia has been appointed as the new manager of the Children’s Countryside Day, organised annually by Glendale Agricultural Society (GAS).
Ruth Oldfield, originally from North Charlton, is taking on responsibility for the event that has so far introduced around 12,500 Northumberland and Tyneside children to food and farming.
She has held a number senior roles in communications and strategic marketing in the UK and abroad with not-for-profit organisations.
As Children’s Countryside Day event manager, she will be responsible for liaising with schools, exhibitors, stewards and sponsors to deliver the annual day held at the Glendale Showground near Wooler.
Mrs Oldfield said: “The day is already a huge success, so my role will be to build on this success and secure the vital funding required to ensure the event continues year on year.
“In essence, my focus will be on the longevity of the Countryside Day, and I have a fantastic and strong committee behind me to support both old and new ideas and initiatives.
“In the short term, I would like to look at how inner city schools and non-country children can get the most out of this unique educational event.
“I would like to help change their perceptions of food, farming and the countryside and explain to them that living rurally is not just about mud.
“Farming is in fact an essential industry that keeps the entire world alive. As a committee, we are looking to change children’s attitudes about the countryside to help them understand just how their food makes it onto their plates and why the countryside is so important in everyday life.”
She will work with a committee made up of farmers, parents, teachers and business people. The event, which is approaching its seventh year, won the Bayer/FACE Innovative Learning Award in 2011, and Mrs Oldfield’s first task will be to raise funds for next year’s event.
June Watson, who sits on the committee and is a former chair of the Children’s Countryside Day, said: “Ruth is exactly the type of candidate we hoped would come forward for this post. For the Glendale Agricultural Society it was important that the role was filled by a candidate who has a strong link to the local community, understands the dynamics of the countryside and shares our passion to ensure the on-going success of the Children’s Countryside Day.
“It is clear that Ruth has all of these skills and many more in abundance, and we are all extremely enthusiastic about working with Ruth to deliver next year’s event.
“We’ve already had our first committee meeting, and we look forward to launching our plans for the event in June 2013... watch this space.”