Alan Titchmarsh, an ambassador for The Prince’s Countryside Fund since 2010, has urged members of the public to support British farming families this Christmas in a new short film.
Winter can be one of the most difficult times of year for farmers, with bad weather causing damage, contributing to the loss of livestock, and increasing feelings of isolation – problems made worse when you consider that the average hill farmer earns just £10,000 a year.
Alan appeals to people to support the British countryside and its communities – or risk losing them forever: “The British countryside is idyllic, but the realities faced by those living and working in it can be harsh.
"It is vital that we ensure our rural communities and family farms have a secure future, and The Prince’s Countryside Fund works tirelessly to do exactly that, helping to lift the weight off the shoulders of farmers across the UK.”
In the film, Edward Richardson from FarmCornwall - a regional charity whose work is supported by grant funding from The Prince’s Countryside Fund - explains that they are seeing more and more cases of farmers considering suicide owing to the increasing pressure they face.
Statistics show that on average, more than one farmer a week takes their own life in the UK.
In one shocking story, Edward tells of how one farmer decided to take his dog’s anti-anxiety medication, to deal with his own depression – not knowing where else to turn.
Grants from The Prince’s Countryside Fund support projects such as FarmCornwall to offer vital lifelines to farming and rural communities throughout the UK.
The Fund is only able to provide these grants thanks to donations from the public and its corporate partnerships.
So this year, while you’re tucking into your Christmas dinner, spare a thought for those who don’t get a break - even on Christmas day.