Charities unite to help farmers cope with coronavirus pressures

PUBLISHED: 10:44 14 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:44 14 April 2020

Farming charities have joined forces to launch Farming Help Awareness Week during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Nick Butcher

Farming charities have joined forces to launch Farming Help Awareness Week during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Farming charities have launched a joint awareness campaign to highlight ways they can help farmers cope with the financial and emotional pressures of the coronavirus pandemic.

While agricultural businesses continue to produce food during the lockdown, the Covid-19 outbreak has amplified the pressures on farmers and their businesses – with concerns ranging from anxiety and cashflow problems to how to maintain vital production processes and keep livestock fed and healthy if key staff become unable to work through illness or self-isolation.

So agricultural charities the Addington Fund, the Farming Community Network (FCN), Forage Aid, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) and Scottish charity RSABI have joined forces to promote Farming Help Awareness Week, running from April 13 to 17.

They have encouraged people to contact the dedicated helpline if they “feel concerned or anxious and would like to talk to someone who understands farming”, or would like help to draft a contingency plan to “ensure you and your farm are prepared, should you be unable to work for a time”.

The charity partners also said they could help source contact details of local organisations and groups who may be able to find help to feed livestock, collect shopping or collect prescriptions if farmers are unable to do so because they, or someone they rely on, has become ill or is self-isolating.

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A joint statement from the charities says: “We recognise that this could be an anxious time for many farmers and farming families and periods of poor health or self-isolation may result in temporary practical difficulties on farm.”

The Farming Help initiative is supported by The Prince’s Countryside Fund and run in conjunction with The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, The National Farmers’ Union, and the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust.

• The Farming Help helpline (operated by the Farming Community Network) can be contacted on 03000 111 999, or for more details see the Farming Help website.

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