Farm support charity Rural Support sees 40% increase in demand

Rural Support says calls and referrals to their service have increased by 40% due to the current pressures being faced by the industry.
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Gillian Reid, Head of Farm Support at Rural Support commented: “The rapid pace of change within this sector is really taking its toll on our farmers and for many it is simply overwhelming.

"When added to significant pressures from weather, rising interest rates, input costs and market uncertainty, it gives the term resilience a whole new meaning. Not forgetting many of our farmers work alone for long hours, seven days a week which is physically very demanding.

"Within Rural Support we need to be equipped to deal with this increased demand and so have recently recruited additional Farm Business Mentors and Counsellors so we can continue to meet these needs as they are presented.’’

Rural Support is reporting a 40% increase in calls to their helpline. Pic Stephen JollyRural Support is reporting a 40% increase in calls to their helpline. Pic Stephen Jolly
Rural Support is reporting a 40% increase in calls to their helpline. Pic Stephen Jolly

Rural Support is the farm support charity for Northern Ireland offering confidential support through its Support Line which is the main point of contact to access other services. Free impartial guidance is available to all farm family members through a wide range of programmes and services to help farmers and farm families build sustainable farm businesses and develop better wellbeing. These include 1-1 Farm business mentoring, emotional support to include support for bereaved families, workshops, group activities, and programmes for older farmers.

Gyles Dawson, Head of Therapeutical Services & Crisis Support at Rural Support said: “We are helping farming families to get their business and their life back on track – the whole agri-sector is reliant on the farmer – the stronger and more resilient the farm family is, the better their business will be, and this will have a positive impact on the wider agri-sector. Therefore, the work that Rural Support perform is vital to the sector to ensure a more resilient, sustainable and profitable farming community.”

Services are unique in that this 1-1 support and guidance from Farm Business Mentors and Counsellors often takes place in the privacy of the family home and at no cost to the client.

Mentors have a wide range of skill sets and experience and will offer completely confidential and impartial support for a wide range of issues.

If you are in need of support or would like more information of the services and programmes that Rural Support provide, you can visit their website or call their free confidential Support Line on 0800 138 1678, open Monday – Friday, 9am – 9pm.