FUTURE PLANS: Grace Crawford has joined the Utass team
FUTURE PLANS: Grace Crawford has joined the Utass team

A FARM charity has appointed a new member of its team to help plan for the future.

Grace Crawford has joined Utass (Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services) as the organisation’s strategic development officer.

During the next 16 months she will be responsible for overseeing the development of Utass’s business plan and helping to create a strategic blueprint to enable the charity to continue to deliver community-led services and support into the future.

Ms Crawford said: “Utass has been in existence now for over 20 years and throughout that time has played a vital role in supporting farmers and the rural communities of upper Teesdale and the wider Durham Dales, through training, agricultural support, youth services, advice and guidance, and crisis support.

“In this time, the financial climate has changed significantly and in order to survive into the future charities, such as us, are having to look carefully at service delivery models to ensure we can adapt and grow.

“I am looking forward to playing my own part within the fantastic team here, to support Utass in forward planning, to ensure that we are able to provide a vibrant, community-led service to the Durham Dales and beyond for many years to come, helping our communities to be healthy, safe, resilient and self-sustaining.”

Ms Crawford comes from a voluntary sector background, having worked at a community regeneration charity in Durham for the past 14 years.

Living in Middleton-in-Teesdale and having grown up on a local hill farm, she brings local knowledge and understanding, as well as a broad range of skills and experiences to support the Utass team.

Her post is partially funded and supported by the office of Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, through one of its priorities – to increase community safety in rural areas.

Steve White, temporary Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, said: “I am very excited to support this post within Utass.

“Utass is at the heart of helping rural communities in upper Teesdale and beyond, and are one of our key partners in tackling and reducing crime.

“It provides a vital service to communities which have a diverse range of needs and this only helps to achieve their vision”

To find out more about Ms Crawford’s role and to get involved with the future planning for Utass, contact her by email grace@utass.org or call 01833 641010.