These are worrying and difficult times for everyone. Even as lockdown measures are easing, this brings about new uncertainties and concerns for livelihoods and families. Alongside the pressures of being key workers, farming communities have been contending with additional demands such as schooling children at home, checking in on neighbours, and looking after family members.
With the many practical issues facing the industry, today’s blog invites Beth Pritchard, Corporate Social Responsibility Consultant at NFU Mutual to explain exactly what the UK’s leading insurer is doing to support our communities…
“NFU Mutual has been part of the farming fold for over 100 years and, whilst supporting communities is what we do day to day, we committed a special £32m support package to help our members and communities deal with the situation and increase resilience for the future.
It’s important to know how we can all help ourselves, extend help to others, and receive support from those wonderful charities and organisations up and down the country that can provide professional support, day or night.
So, with this in mind, NFU Mutual donated additional funds to the Farm Safety Foundation, to support and extend its mental health work. This helped to fund a mental health support campaign for our members and agency network and included a practical ‘Guide To Coping With The Stresses of COVID19’, which provides practical advice on how to take care of your wellbeing. We hope this guide reaches out a friendly hand to you, or enables you to help someone, in this ‘new version of normal’.
CLICK HERE to learn more
We also know that many charities are struggling; their services are in great demand however their income streams have been removed due to cancellation of fundraising events. Whilst we can’t pick up the phone to offer counselling support, NFU Mutual can however champion the wonderful charities which are there for us all on the frontline.
The ‘local’ element of this charitable support has been NFU Mutual’s £1m ‘Agency Giving Fund’, which has been released through our agency network of over 300 local offices. Many of the charities to benefit from this fund provide emotional and social local support, such as YANA which helps those working in farming and allied trades in the three counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Worcestershire who may be affected by stress and depression. We have also supported YFC clubs across the UK. Whilst competitions and events have been cancelled, many clubs have directed their energies to helping vulnerable people and organising online quizzes to connect their communities. These young minds show great initiative to take the lead, and their kindness provides a great example to us all. Our Agency Giving Fund has also helped collaborative community initiatives like Hands Together Ludlow, whose services to support vulnerable people have been vital during the pandemic.
To support national and regional charities, NFU Mutual pledged an additional £750,000 donation to the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust.
To date, The Addington Fund, The Farming Community Network, Forage Aid, the National Emergencies Trust: Coronavirus Appeal, The Prince’s Countryside Fund, The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I), The Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI), Rural Support Northern Ireland and Samaritans have all benefitted from donations. This funding will support individuals experiencing stress or worry, help families facing financial challenges and encourage physical and mental wellbeing in our communities.
As an industry we’re doing what we do best – and that’s pulling together – which is bringing so much hope and building our resilience. Please remember the theme of our campaign – we are in this together, even if we feel alone. All around us, there are kind hands waiting to pull us up when we need it and help us through.”