Parting Shot: Nicholas Ford, the Ernest Cook Trust

Nicholas Ford
Nicholas Ford

This has been the most rewarding, varied and stimulating job, combining my experience as a land agent with my passion for outdoor education. It's been an absolute privilege.

The Ernest Cook Trust owns and manages 22,000 acres of English country estates, helps children learn from the land through free education programmes and donates £1.8m a year to education initiatives.

When I arrived 14 years ago there were no school visits. Today, ECT's education centres welcome more than 30,000 children a year. If you ask me what I'm most proud of, it's this. The trust does this so well, working with schools to take learning out of the classroom into the great outdoors. Grant donations have tripled in my time, thanks to the foresight and investment decisions of my predecessor and the trustees.

At the heart of ECT is good management of its estates. Without this, our charitable work couldn't happen. I'm proud of the continuity the trust promotes, encouraging family succession on farms and giving preference to local people when letting houses.

I'm concerned about the impact of Brexit. When people worry about the economy, the first thing to suffer is giving. After years of austerity, charities will have to continue plugging gaps in government funding.

I'd like to see more collaboration. When I started, there was little of this, but it's getting better now. ECT is a member of the Environmental Funders Network, which works well in bringing charities together.

For those new to the sector, I'd stress the importance of good governance, not only to win public trust but also because charities have tremendous tax advantages, and with those come responsibilities.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Latest Jobs

RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners


Expert Hub

Insurance advice from Markel

Five ways to manage risk

Accidents happen and liability and property claims often follow. However there are measures that can be put in place to reduce the risk and prevent claims