Famous farming faces unite to help tackle rural loneliness, including The Sheep Game’s Cammy Wilson and This Farming Life’s Emma Gray
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The adapted version of the popular carol was pulled together by RSABI, the charity which supports people in Scottish agriculture, as part of its #KeepTalking campaign to encourage people in Scottish farming to look out for each other this winter.
While the standard of the singing varies, the message prevails that the winter months can be particularly challenging for farmers and crofters, and a visit or a kind word or two can make a huge difference.
Famous faces include The Hoof GP, Graeme Parker; Cammy Wilson from The Sheep Game; shepherdess Emma Gray from This Farming Life and comedian Jim Smith.
A host of auctioneers from around the country also sing their hearts out in the recording, including Jim Craig (James Craig Ltd, Ayr), brothers Scott and Fraser Chapman and Colin Slessor (ANM, Thainstone), Graham Low (Orkney Mart) and Farquhar Macrae (United Auctions, Huntly).
Others appearing in the recording include; Graham Bruce, Managing Director of Ringlink and his team; Lucy Mitchell, Chair of Scottish Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs; Joyce Campbell and some of the Armadale Farm team; and Martin Kennedy, President of NFU Scotland with his daughter Katrina.
RSABI trustees Jimmy McLean and David Leggat, and staff members Mary Anne McWilliam and Carol McLaren also take part in the recording, along with supporters Christine Cuthbertson, Lorna Paterson and Kevin Gilbert.
The light-hearted video, which the charity hopes will raise a few smiles, has a serious message at its core as it aims to raise awareness of people of all ages in farming communities who may be more vulnerable to loneliness and isolation during the winter months, with little daylight, freezing temperatures and worries about cost of living and rising input costs.
RSABI Chief Executive, Carol McLaren, said: “The winter months are traditionally a tough time for farming folk, with mud and cold to contend with and very often working long hours on their own. It can be easy to get a bit down and we hope that watching the video will inspire people to reach out to someone they haven’t heard from in a while. Just a small gesture could make a massive difference to how someone is feeling.
“RSABI offers emotional, practical and financial support. A free, confidential support service is available 24/7, including over Christmas and New Year. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling Freephone 0808 1234 555, emailing hel[email protected] or using the webchat service on our website.”
The video is just one in a series of initiatives by RSABI encouraging farmers to #KeppTalking and supporting good mental health in people of all ages involved in farming and crofting this winter. RSABI is raising awareness of the ‘Carols at the Marts’ events across Scotland and is trialling a Thrive mental wellbeing app in partnership with the Scottish Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs (SAYFC).
As the temperature plummets, the charity is also reminding people about its Help for Heating grants available to people struggling with the costs of heating their homes.