Local farming charity, Rural Support, welcomed His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to Northern Ireland last Friday (October 20th) as he visited local residents and business owners in the North West affected by severe flooding in August 2017.
During his visit, The Prince of Wales visited Eglinton Community Centre and the YMCA to meet those directly impacted by the heavy rainfall, as well as the volunteers, emergency services and officials assisting with the clean-up efforts.
Rural Support discussed with His Royal Highness how the extreme weather conditions had a devastating long-term effect on farming businesses in the area in particular.
With the support of the Prince’s Countryside Fund, the rural charity has been working closely with the hard-hit farming community to help rebuild businesses and develop long-term recovery plans.
The large storm hit Northern Ireland on the 22nd August 2017, with 63% of the area’s average August rainfall falling within a nine hour period. The resulting floods left 120 people in need of rescue and 510 properties damaged.
Rural Support Chief Executive, Jude McCann commented: “The flash floods in August truly left a mark on the farming community in the North West, and we have been working hard to support rural residents and farm businesses as much as we can to ensure both their homes and businesses are restored.
“We have been honoured by the visit of His Royal Highness to the area, and were delighted to show him just how well the community have pulled together to tackle the damage and destruction left by the storm. At Rural Support we are also particularly thankful to our partner, the Prince’s Countryside Fund, for its contributions and support during the flooding crisis.”
Rural Support is also facilitating The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme, an initiative that has been rolled out across the UK to help family farm businesses. There is now a waiting list for the groups in Enniskillen and Antrim but Rural Support hopes to coordinate more groups in the future.
Since 2002, Rural Support has been helping farming and rural families across Northern Ireland on a wide range of issues from finance and debt issues, succession planning concerns, physical and mental health issues, farming paperwork, technical and enterprise issues.
Rural Support’s trained staff, volunteers and highly experienced mentors provide support both face-to-face or via a confidential helpline. The charity can help to analyse current farm business positions, identify options and explore possible ways forward.
If you do require assistance or are experiencing a challenging period, you are encouraged to contact Rural Support as early as possible so that options can be explored.
For more information on Rural Support and their services visit: www.ruralsupport.org.uk