When you live in a rural community, it can be hard to meet people and form friendships.
Until you have a driver’s licence it can be a challenge to even see people due to the lack of public transport and the over reliance on busy parents to be your taxi service.
While I love living in the Norfolk countryside, it can often be a lonely place.
There is a bus shelter where I live, but it has a very clear sign on it informing you that ‘no buses run through the village’.
It is a physical reminder that there is no easy way out. This remoteness can have a negative impact on your mental health.
It can feel as if there is no-one close at hand that you can share your troubles with or anywhere to go to find distractions to help you get through tough times.
While I had friends at school, their interests were different to mine. I wanted to mix with like-minded people who understood what it was like to grow up in a rural location.
I beat my loneliness by joining Dereham Young Farmers’ Club.
I found people like me there who I could laugh with and get away from any issues I was facing. Since that first meeting, I have now been involved in the club for more than 15 years.
We try to meet twice-a-week to give young people a place to go and be together. From the competitions and taking part in the county rally (we came second this year), to running fundraising events, such as a Norfolk border tractor run, my YFC has given me so much.
And my passion for the good it can do influenced my decision to be county chairwoman for two years, as well as stepping up to sit on the national council.
I am currently the chairwoman of the events and marketing steering group, a role which has allowed me to meet people from all over the country to share ideas with and create a network of friends that is so much wider than my local circle.
It is why I was so excited to be sitting on the council steering group which helps steer National Young Farmers’ Week, which ran from September 30 to October 4.
The aim of the week is to promote YFC to more rural young people so they too can get involved in their local club and benefit from the friendships and opportunities it offers. It was so great to see so many members and clubs getting involved in the week and sharing positive messages about the organisation.
It is easy to forget how much of an impact YFC has had on so many lives, but the week is a much-needed reminder of all it has achieved.
We reached more than one million people throughout the week with case studies, videos and memes about YFC.
Every National Young Farmers’ Week, I share my personal highlights of my time with YFC. This is getting increasingly harder as each year I seem to do another amazing activity which adds to the list of favourites.
My hope though is that these messages about the connections you can gain through YFC reach more rural young people who are looking for ways to not feel alone.
Friendships, a community, an extended family – that is what I found when I joined YFC. I hope you find the same.