Today’s next blog comes from Kate Dale, Yorkshire Support Network Coordinator who demonstrates the practical support one region is offering to the various challenges facing farming and rural communities in Yorkshire …
The Yorkshire Rural Support Network is part of the Charitable Activities of The Yorkshire Agricultural Society and sits at The Regional Agricultural Centre in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. Our activity is informed by being out and about talking to farming families and those who live and work in our rural communities to find out what they are anxious about, what’s working well and where the Support Network might be able to help out. In a large area like Yorkshire, we team up wherever there’s an opportunity to do so as we always find we can be more effective by doing so.
Together with industry bodies, we act as a first post of call and endeavour to join up some of the dots in such a large County. We rely on our key Network members who include the Farming Help Charities in Yorkshire the NFU groups, CLA, Community First Yorkshire, Perennial, British Red Cross, as well as our wider Society membership and contacts to make a positive response to priority areas. Our overriding priority is to give out a message of support.
Currently we have three areas of focus which include Farmer health and wellbeing, The Farming ladder and Social isolation.
• Farmer health and wellbeing includes going out to livestock marts and machinery shows with amazing nurses who carry out a basic health MOT as well as having a discreet conversation about mental health, smoking and alcohol consumption and any other health concerns. This also presents an opportunity for us to flag up the farming help charities and other support available for business related worries.
Working with the NFU, we will be holding an event on 22nd March at Pavilions of Harrogate on the Great Yorkshire Showground, to raise the profile of mental health in our farming communities and to offer help and information to those who come into contact with farming families in how they might proceed with some further action.
• We take members of our Future Farmers of Yorkshire Group (post YFC age group) into the land based colleges in the area to talk about their background, education, career path and aspirations for the future in the industry. We find this peer to peer mentoring a very powerful mechanism for encouraging students to think more broadly about their future.
• Social isolation and loneliness has been in the news nationally and is a very real issue for rural North Yorkshire in particular. Our Support Network has responded with a series of farming community lunches in the livestock Mart cafes – this provides guaranteed customers for the café on non-Mart days and is less intimidating for those who perhaps don’t get out very often and who would find a busy Mart day too much to cope with. Again, this is a chance to flag up additional support available. We are also planning some action on rural and farm crime which is vastly under reported and consequently under resourced.
If you, or someone you know in the Yorkshire area has been affected by this issue, the Yorkshire Rural Support Network can be contacted through various organisations in-cluding: http://yas.co.uk/charitable-activities/yorkshire-rural-support-network
FCN Practical Support 03000 111 999 (7am – 11pm daily)
R.A.B.I Welfare & Financial Help 01865 724931 (weekdays 9am – 5pm)
Addington Fund Rural Housing Scheme 01926 620135 (weekdays 9am – 5pm