More companies than ever sign up to give rural support this Christmas

Rural Support's Melissa Wylie and Simple Power's Philip Rainey
Rural Support's Melissa Wylie and Simple Power's Philip Rainey

Rural Support, which has teamed up again this year with wind energy company, Simple Power, to launch its biggest ever ‘Christmas Hamper Scheme’, has been overwhelmed by the support and generosity of Northern Ireland food and drink producers.

Some of the biggest names in the local agri-food business have pledged their support to help farming and rural families in need, with over 17 companies donating food and drink items so far. After the success of last year, and through the kindness of Northern Ireland agri-businesses, Rural Support and Simple Power hope to provide up to 100 hampers for hard-hit families across Northern Ireland.

The generous donors include Ballyeamon Eggs, Cavanagh Eggs, Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt, Comber Potato Company, Dale Farm, DJ’s Juice and Apple Cider, Dungannon Vineyard Church, Karro Food Group, The Krazi Baker, Mash Direct, Moy Park, Punjana Tea, Rural Development Council, South Antrim Community Network, Tayto, Tesco and the Ulster Farmers’ Union.

Rural Support’s development director, Jude McCann, said: “I’m delighted with the response we have received to date. More agri-food producers than ever have signed up to support the campaign. We would like to sincerely thank Simple Power who have been instrumental in developing and co-ordinating the scheme and enabling us to reach more families this year. We have also been overwhelmed by the generosity of the local agri-producers’ donations, especially given the added pressures these companies are generally under during the festive season. Their support is much needed and will make a great difference to a rural family in need this Christmas.”

Rural Support provides support for farmers and rural families through a helpline offering a listening and signposting service. It deals with a range of issues including emotional distress, physical and mental health, farming paperwork and bureaucracy. Rural Support has also recently launched a pilot project focusing on Financial Stress, providing one-to-one financial mentoring aimed at those experiencing debt or financial issues relating to the farm business and were stress is impacting mental health and well- being.

Simple Power chief executive, Philip Rainey, commented: “We are delighted by the support shown from local agri-producers for our Christmas Hamper Scheme in partnership with Rural Support. Christmas can be a very special time for many but it’s important to acknowledge that it can also be a difficult time of year for those in hardship, particularly within the rural community. With the support of the local producers, the hampers will go some way towards providing a little Christmas cheer, alongside Rural Support’s very beneficial support service.”