The not-for-profit organisation HOPS, which provides seasonal labour for the UK’s agriculture industry, is on the hunt for a UK workforce to help farms harvest crops that will feed the nation following the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on seasonal labour travelling from abroad.
Travel restrictions and tighter border controls around the world are having a major impact on the number of people willing to travel to the UK during the Covid-19 outbreak.
HOPS, based at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire, is owned by the National Federation of Young Farmer’s Clubs – one of the largest rural youth organisations in the UK. All of HOPS’ profits are invested back into the organisation to help develop skills and offer opportunities to thousands of young people in rural locations.
With the soft fruit-picking season due to get fully underway in April, HOPS is calling for British people to apply for jobs picking and packing fruit and vegetables.
Much of the region this magazine covers, from Warwickshire and Worcestershire across to Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, is well-known for its high fertility, with the Vale of Evesham labelled the “Garden of England” and hundreds of small, independent growers are concerned that the fresh produce they’re nurturing could stay in the ground without more workers.
The paid positions could provide an income for students, job seekers and anyone who has been laid off work due to the impact of Covid-19, such as those working in hospitality and catering.
The organisation is also working with The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs to help gather support and has launched a #YFCRuralSupport campaign to find applicants.
HOPS Operations Director, Sarah Boparan, said: “We urgently need a UK labour force who can help harvest crops to feed the nation. At a time when international travel is restricted and people are panic buying due to the Coronavirus, it is crucial that growers can provide enough British produce to our supermarkets and local shops.
“As the peak season for soft fruit picking gets underway, HOPS are calling on British workers to help support the industry in jobs that are usually filled by EU workers.
“We are aware that there are many people facing sustained periods away from their usual employment or studies and HOPS can offer paid positions for those who are willing to work.”
Interested applicants will be asked to complete an online application form after they have reviewed the information about the work involved.
Successful applicants will receive training on the farm and can be assured that all HOPS farms are following the correct procedures around safe working conditions during the Coronavirus outbreak.
To apply for a position on one of HOPS farms in the UK, please complete this form.