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Suffolk Youth

Meet Andrea
Our New Suffolk Youth Officer

Andrea Gardiner is a human dynamo. When the Society introduced the National Youth Championships Andrea contacted the Society and asked how she could help! Her enthusiasm in general and commitment to helping young people was a perfect combination and she played a central role in making sure the Youth Championships have been a resounding success since their inception in 2017. Towards the end of last year the Society asked Andrea if she would become the Society Youth Co-ordinator and thankfully she agreed. Andrea agreed to answer some questions:

Tell us a something about yourself?
My name is Andrea Gardner and I have a small Suffolk sheep flock (at Bay Horse, Nr. Lancaster). I was elected as Chairman of the North West Suffolk Breeders Club in November 2017. I have two daughters, Jennifer (25) works for the NHS, and Bethany (22) is currently studying Agriculture with Animal Science at Harper Adams University. My full time role is Business Development & Projects Manager at Myerscough College, near Preston.

How long have you been breeding Suffolk sheep?
I started keeping my own flock in 2007 when i purchased 6 ewes from Perrinpit and Cairness flocks. Prior to this I managed the Suffolk flock at Myerscough College. The flock was ‘in between’ shepherds and i was asked to organise the following years breeding programme. I successfully applied for ‘flock improvement’ funding and used this to finance the AI programme. The following year we won the most progressive flock award!

Tell me about your flock management?
I performance record my flock, currently choosing to concentrating on improvements in muscle growth and 8 week weights. I find performance recording an excellent tool that works for me, however I am also careful to ensure that the results of performance recording don’t compromise the breed. I want my sheep to ‘look like’ a Suffolk that displays good physical traits as well.

Tell me what you do for a day job?
In my job as Business Development & Projects Manager at Myerscough.  I work in Apprenticeships and Short Courses and manage Traineeships and programmes for young people at risk of becoming NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training). I also manage European (Erasmus) programmes. Working with young people in these programmes enables me to engage with future adults who have become disengaged with school, or where relationships have broken down. This gives me the opportunity to connect with them and put in place appropriate programmes to enable them to reengage in education and increase their confidence when applying for jobs.

Your greatest achievement?
The greatest has to be two beautiful daughters, Jennifer and Bethany – I am also very proud of my Masters of Business Administration degree which I successfully completed in November 2016.

And what about Suffolk Youth?
As a Society we need to not only support the young folk we have coming through, but also to raise the awareness of Suffolk outside the families and friends of our current membership. I am talking to more young men and women who are looking at Suffolks as the breed they want to become involved with, it is important that we encourage this as much as possible. The Youth Championships is an excellent initiative but we need to build on it. I want to see more young people being introduced to Suffolks. It is only since I became involved in the Youth Championships that I realised just how big the Society is, and the opportunity to develop youth programmes throughout the UK, Ireland and into mainland Europe. I am really looking to getting to know our youth from all regions of the Society.

Suffolk Youth/young Adult Membership Scheme

Having a vibrant, active and engaged youth wing is a key part of ensuring that the contribution the Suffolk Sheep makes to the sheep industry continues and grows in the future. We are launching a new Youth/Young Adult programme which will support our young people as they take those first steps in creating, and building their own flocks. Not only are their membership and registration fees being heavily subsidised by the Society, but we also introduced an annual competition in 2017 which focuses on the key competencies required in sheep husbandry and farm management. Not only will our young people enjoy the camaraderie and ‘craic’ which always happens on these occasions, but where there will be demonstrations and presentations (with a bit of ‘hands on experimenting’) on improving their skills and making them better shepherds!

The new categories are:

Suffolk Youth (up to 16 years old) – annual membership fee £12.00 incl VAT
Suffolk Young Adults (up to 26 years old) – annual membership £24.00 incl VAT

Other benefits:

  1. Own flock number and prefix.
  2. Two complimentary ewe registrations per year for 3 years from joining (or until exiting the scheme).
  3. 50% discount for registering 1 Ram within 12 months of joining.
  4. Welcome Pack.
  5. Early notification of Suffolk Youth/Young Adults events.
Please click here to read more about the Suffolk Youth/Young Adult.

Contact

Suffolk Sheep Society Ltd
Fenaghy Road
Galgorm, Ballymena
Co. Antrim
BT42 1FL

Phone: +44 (0) 28 2563 2342
Fax: +44 (0) 28 2563 2342

Chief Exec: robinmcilrath@suffolksheep.org
Accounts: accounts@suffolksheep.org
Enquiries: enquiries@suffolksheep.org

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