Young Farmers campaign aims to combat loneliness

During World Mental Health Day this week, the Young Farmers' Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) reflected on their recent campaign aimed at combatting loneliness in rural communities.

The #CuppaAndACatchUp campaign was launched earlier this summer with each club receiving a number of packs to encourage members to reach out to friends, family and members of the local community to have a chat.

Each pack contained a packet of biscuits, a leaflet highlighting the work of Rural Support and an all-important mug.

YFCU are very grateful for leading Northern Ireland dairy cooperative Dale Farm who donated generously towards the provision of mugs for this Northern Ireland-wide campaign and local retail company Henderson Retail Ltd has kindly donated 300 packets of biscuits for distribution.Chronic loneliness affects around one in 20 people in Northern Ireland and 88% of the population say that the problem has grown since Covid-19 restrictions were first imposed over two years ago.

Trillick and District YFC club leader Timothy Keys with Trillick and District YFC past member Pauline Armstong

Being lonely can affect not only mental health but also physical health and YFCU wants to help tackle these problems and the stigma around being lonely.

YFCU president, Peter Alexander, said: “The #CuppandaCatchUp campaign is a fantastic initiative from our YFSeesYou Mental Health committee, which aims to support our members, their families and local communities. The campaign seeks to build on the success of the YFSeesYou Ambassador Programme, launched in 2021.

“A quick cup of tea and a biscuit can make all the difference and help brighten someone’s day.”

Trillick and District YFC in Co Tyrone got behind the campaign with club leader Timothy Keys and Secretary Megan Birney calling in with past member Pauline Armstong. Pauline comments:

Chair of the mental health community and long-standing Moneyrea YFC member, Linzi Stewart with Ross Sloan a member of Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs

“I was delighted when Trillick and District YFC's club leader Timothy Keys and secretary Megan Birney called round to tell me all about the YFCUs recent initiative.

“And even better they brought a super mug and biscuits and we spent an evening catching up on the news and successes of Trillick and District YFC during the summer.

“Congratulations to the YFCU and the sponsors Dale Farm for taking the opportunity to become involved in addressing the important issues of rural isolation and the support of vulnerable members of the community.

“I’m sure many of club presidents and vice presidents would, like me, be happy to be involved with club members in delivering this very worthwhile initiative.”

If you are affected by loneliness or isolation and would like to speak to someone you may wish to contact Rural Support on 0800 138 1678.