My Week: Nicholas Ford prepares for the other diamond jubilee

The director of the Ernest Cook Trust recounts his week

Nicholas Ford
Nicholas Ford

Monday: This is an exciting time for us. Although eclipsed by this year's royal celebration, it's also our diamond jubilee and there's much to do.

I spend most of the day planning a gathering of all our farm tenants, staff and advisers. Later, I talk to our grants administrator about a few borderline applications - ones that don't quite fit our grant criteria. Cuts in statutory funding have resulted in a lot more applications to our arts category.

Tuesday: I travel to our Hartwell estate in Buckinghamshire to talk with a tenant about the effect of HS2. The route of the proposed high-speed train line runs close to the Grade 1 listed house, so we're doing all we can to try to mitigate the effect of the line if it goes ahead.

Wednesday: I'm off to London to meet another funder who makes grants in many of the same areas as we do. I think it's important for funders in the same field to talk, sharing ideas and information. We discuss grant applications we've both received and how we might best coordinate to help the heritage crafts sector. I go up to London frequently, but it's a relief to get back into the countryside.

Thursday: Another drive today, this time to the Little Dalby estate in Leicestershire to meet my colleague who manages the estate and farm tenants. At one farm we discuss the succession of a tenancy from a father to his son, something we encourage where possible. The family has been there for years, but there are complex statutory criteria to fulfil, so I sit with them and explain it face to face.

Friday: A morning in the office catching up with paperwork. In the afternoon I make a school visit to our Fairford estate in Gloucestershire, where a group of children are having a Forest School session in our woodland 'outdoor classroom'. It starts raining, but the children barely notice it. I always enjoy hearing their excited clamour. They're having such a great time, they don't even realise they're learning.

The Ernest Cook Trust owns and manages country estates, makes educational grants and offers free education programmes for schools.

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