Agricultural charities have adopted new strategies to support farmers in the face of unprecedented challenges presented by the Covid-19 crisis.
With the coronavirus pandemic creating personal and financial hardship for farmers and farm businesses across the country, charities have sought to develop new strategies to offer advice and assistance.
The move has seen NFU Mutual Charitable Trust announce there will be an added £750,000 donation to support national organisations in reaching isolated and vulnerable individuals as well as families facing financial challenges due to the pandemic.
Farmer and chairman of NFU Mutual Jim McLaren said: “Adding protection for farmers will support the agricultural industry when the nation needs it most.”
This additional funding has been granted to the Farm Safety Foundation (FSF), in order to allow the charity to continue to help young farmers minimise risk on farm and educate the community on the link between farm safety and mental health.
Thank you @nfum for your continued support?— Yellow Wellies (@yellowwelliesuk)
This additional funding will allow us to back the package you are delivering for your members at this time of uncertainty. Keep an eye out later this week for our new booklet about looking after your physical & mental wellbeing. t.co/zi6MmBcgXQ
Thank you @nfum for your continued support\uD83D\uDC9B— Yellow Wellies (@yellowwelliesuk) April 6, 2020
This additional funding will allow us to back the package you are delivering for your members at this time of uncertainty. Keep an eye out later this week for our new booklet about looking after your physical & mental wellbeing. https://t.co/zi6MmBcgXQ
In collaboration with the trust alongside the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (NFYFC) and the NFU, the RABI, Farming Community Network (FCN), Forage Aid and RSABI, supported by The Prince’s Countryside Fund, are working together to support the farming community ;
The initiative will see organisations and volunteer networks offer support to farmers affected by Covid-19 via a Farming Help helpline, operated by the FCN.
Jude McCann, FCN’s chief executive officer, said: "During this challenging time, the FCN is working with agricultural charities to promote extensive support via our helpline.
"The organisation is also taking a proactive approach through various mental health awareness projects, offering help in drafting contingency plans and providing local contact support."
To raise awareness of how the Farming Help charities can support the community throughout Covid-19 and beyond, an awareness week has also been launched (April 13-17).
The initiative has been designed to highlight the advice and support available to those struggling during this difficult period and encourages farmers to reach out via the helpline.
Reinforcing the importance of providing a support network for farmers where they can ‘reach out’, Emma Picton-Jones, founder of the mental health charity the DPJ Foundation, said: “We have ensured our fully funded counselling is still available by transferring sessions to Skype and our call line is still open.
“We are also operating a #dpjbuddy system, which allows those who feel isolated at this time to have a friendly chat with one of our volunteers.”