The ARC-Addington Fund was founded in 2001 as the Churches’ response to the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease. ARC stands for the Arthur Rank Centre, the rural resource unit for the churches in England and the name Addington came from Canon Richard Addington who inspired the original Addington Fund in East Anglia. His principles of providing financial support combined with pastoral care live on to this day.
Cash grants from the Fund were made to those farmers who could not move or sell stock during the foot and mouth crisis, and grants were issued as a contribution towards additional feed costs. The ability of the Fund to make these grants was entirely due to the donations that poured into the office. Individuals and charitable trusts made very generous donations and the government match-funded private donations. However, it was the overwhelming support from the general public and churches that made this response possible.
Between March 2001 and July 2002 a total of £10.3m was distributed to over 22,000 applicants. That this was achieved at an administrative cost of only 1.4% was mainly due to the huge nationwide voluntary contribution.
Applicants were often isolated, misunderstood, depressed, frightened or, in some cases, suicidal. People with an understanding of the situation responded to all telephone calls to the office, and every caller was offered a local contact to provide pastoral care: a relationship that often still exists to this day.
Rank Foundation Fund
It became clear that with the countryside virtually closed down, industries other than solely agriculture were affected. The Rank Foundation made a generous donation to help make provision for this sector. The occupations of applicants were many and varied, ranging from the obvious tourism and leisure to the more unusual such as eel fishing and carriage building. The link between agriculture and the rural economy was aptly demonstrated by one Devon accountant who said that, although he had no farmers on his books, fifty per cent of his clients had been adversely affected by the consequences of Foot and Mouth Disease.
National Fodder Bureau
Most applicants to the Fund had serious overstocking problems as a result of being unable to sell or move any animals. The Fund set up a Fodder Bureau which provided 20,000 tonnes of hay and straw to farmers in need, much of which was donated by farmers in more fortunate situations.