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Farming is a stressful, 24/7 occupation and increasingly farmers face emotional and financial strain because of bad weather, market price volatility and late payments.

Spiralling debt, relationship breakdowns, a lack of succession planning and mental health issues can also pile on the pressure for farming families. 

Generally, the image of farmers as proud and tough means they often don’t seek support when they are struggling.

See also: Farmers look to charity help as incomes fall

The good news is that farmers can reach out to farming and rural charities who are there to help. If you are struggling, you should not suffer in silence.

Farmers Weekly has profiled the major farming charities and the vital work they do to support the agricultural sector.

Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (Rabi)

How are you funded?

Rabi’s main source of funding is voluntary income, including donations from individuals, businesses and charitable trusts.

Contact

What are you there for?

We support farming people of all ages on low incomes who find themselves in financial difficulty.

While Rabi does not help with payment of business bills, it can offer grants for domestic expenses to people of limited means who are in financial trouble because of exceptional events, such as accident, illness, family breakdown, bereavement or animal disease.

Who can approach you?

Anyone. However, many beneficiaries are elderly or disabled people who receive regular grants or one-off payments for help with fuel costs, mobility equipment and essential household items.

How much money did you pay out in 2015 and 2016?

In 2016, the charity provided grants of £2,035,702 to 1,357 farming families. In 2015, Rabi gave out grants totalling £1,875,000 to 1,340 farming families.

Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI) 

How are you funded?

RSABI relies on historical invested funds and donations from trusts, individuals and dedicated fundraising.

Contact

What are you there for?

RSABI provides regular financial support to hundreds of low-income households throughout Scotland.

It awards one-off grants to people to pay for household expenses in times of crisis.

Grants go towards the cost of essential items that people are unable to afford themselves.

The charity has a skilled and dedicated team who are ready to help, in strictest confidence, anyone who comes to us who is within our scope and in need of support.   

Who can approach you?

RSABI provides financial and practical support and friendship to individuals and their families across a range of occupations with the common theme of working on the land in Scotland. 

How much money did you pay out in 2015 and 2016?

In the 2014-15 financial year, RSABI paid out £480,000 to 688 people. In the 2015-16 financial year, it helped more than 900 people at a cost of about £600,000.

The Addington Fund

Who are you?

The Addington Fund is a farming charity, based in Warwickshire and is part of Farming Help, a group of farming charities who work together with the aim of providing help to farmers experiencing hardship due to emergency situations.

Contact

What are you there for?

Addington’s main focus is housing for farming families (mainly tenant farmers) who have had to leave the industry through no fault of their own. For the tenant farmer, when the time comes to retire or relinquish their tenancy, one of the barriers from preventing them from doing so is appropriate housing. 

Who can approach you?

Through its Strategic Rural Housing Scheme (SRHS) Addington purchases a property for successful applicants, which is then rented to them. The SRHS is unique, confidential and flexible.  

Applicants have an input on where they would like to live, and shared equity options are available with no minimum or maximum amount.

More than 60% of Addington’s SRHS tenants have shared ownership of their property, on which they do not pay rent.

This share can be increased at any time throughout the tenancy.

You Are Not Alone – The Yana Project

How are you funded?

Backed initially by a Norfolk Charity, The Clan Trust, the Yana Project received £60,000 from the fundraising Wheatsheaf Ball in 2009. Running costs per annum are approximately £9,000, however, much of this is recouped by donations.

How much money have you got?

About £65,000.

What are you there for?

We provide confidential support and mental health awareness to the farming and rural communities of Norfolk and Suffolk.

We offer a confidential telephone helpline and callers can also speak to a doctor or counsellor within 48 hours.

Contact

Yana can fund up to six sessions with a qualified counsellor, either one connected to the project or their own doctor.

Who can approach you?

We support anyone from farming and rural life who is involved with agricultural trades in Norfolk and Suffolk.

We welcome contact from other relevant charities.

We are happy to give talks on the work of the project to interested parties.

How much money did you pay out in 2016 and in 2015?

We paid out £9,461 in 2015 and £8,336 in 2016 – which included funding for 83 hours of counselling.

Lincolnshire Rural Support Network

How are you funded?

A mixture of grants, donations, fundraising and an NHS contract for our health screening service, which may or may not be reviewed from April 2017.

Contact

How much money have you got?

About £80,000 and £98,000 in unrestricted and restricted funds, respectively.

We have very little annuity funding, our reserves policy must be prudent if we are to be able to sustain our charity and its services year on year.

What are you there for?

We provide help and support to Lincolnshire farmers, farming families and rural communities in times of crisis, stress and change.

We offer practical and emotional support and advice. We offer weekly health screening clinics at Louth, Newark and Spalding livestock marts and deliver mental health workshops.

Who can approach you?

Anyone connected with or working in the agricultural and rural community in Lincolnshire.

How much money did you pay out in 2016 and in 2015? 

Our service does not include any benevolent provision, although we do signpost those in need to other farming help charities where appropriate.

Nottinghamshire Rural Support (NRS)

How are you funded?

Nottinghamshire Rural Support (NRS) is entirely funded by donations and fundraising events. It is staffed completely by volunteers.

Contact

How much money have you got?

At the end of January we had a bank balance of £14,000.

What are you there for?

Our principal service is to offer counselling and support for farmers and others in the rural communities of Nottinghamshire who face stress, isolation and anxiety.

Who can approach you?

Anyone, either on their own behalf or by referring a friend, relative or neighbour who they are concerned about.

Our brief is for residents in the rural areas of the county, though some overlap is inevitable.

How much money did you pay out in 2016 and in 2015?

NRS does not give direct financial aid – we see our work as being complementary to that of Rabi, The Addington Fund and others.

Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services

How are you funded?

Our core running costs are about £200,000 annually.

We have 40 different funders, the biggest being the Big Lottery Fund. We also generate about £35,000 in earned income.

Contact 

  • Telephone 01833 641 010
  • Out of hours/emergency 01833 640 320
  • Website utass.org

How much money have you got?

At the end of 2016, we had £138,862, but the majority is restricted funding from grants paid in advance for work in 2017.

Our only other significant tangible assets are two minibuses, which are for community/not-for-profit use.

What are you there for?

Our main aim is to prevent problems from getting to the desperate stage.

Our services are predominantly for farmers and their families, but in recent years we have established services for the wider communities throughout the Durham Dales.

Our approach ranges from help with farm paperwork to drop-in advice and telephone support.

Who can approach you?

Anyone – we turn no one away.

How much money did you pay out in 2016 and in 2015?

Our expenditure was £318,294 in 2016, and £269,768 in 2015.

FCN

Contact

How are you funded?

We rely heavily on donations from a variety of sources to continue our vital support to the farming community.

It costs approximately £1,500/day to run FCN. 

What are you there for?

First and foremost, we listen.

We provide a sympathetic ear to those who seek our help and all cases are treated non-judgmentally and with complete confidentiality.

We have more than 400 volunteers across England and Wales on hand to provide emotional and practical support.

At the height of the 2015 BPS payment delays, FCN was taking about 300 calls a month – five times more than usual.

We also work in partnership with stakeholders critical to the successful outcome of cases.

These include government bodies, agricultural organisations and healthcare services.

Who can approach you?

Anyone who seeks our help. We don’t turn anyone away, regardless of their background, occupation or beliefs.

How much money did you pay out in 2015 and 2016?

We help with emotional welfare rather than financial welfare. Our volunteers deal with approximately 2,500 cases a year, helping roughly 6,000 people benefit from FCN support.

Forage Aid

How are you funded?

We are funded entirely from donations.

How much money have you got?

£50,000.

Contact

What are you there for?

Forage Aid is the charity that supports farmers whose livestock has been affected by an extreme weather event by providing forage and/or bedding to those in need.

Who can approach you?

Any farmer with a holding number whose livestock has been affected by adverse weather in an area where at least two holdings are in crisis due to the weather event.

How much money did you pay out in 2016 and in 2015?

Nearly £8,000. Ours is not a charity that relies on cash so much. Our whole ethos is farmers helping farmers via physical donations of feed and bedding.

Ancillary businesses help, too, by way of donating tractors, trailers and handlers for us to use in times of crisis, as well as local markets to help store the goods until it can be distributed.

Sometimes donations are necessary to help with haulage costs.  

Promote your charity

Many Farmers Weekly readers get involved in fantastic fundraising for charity.

We’d love to hear about what you do in this respect and we might even be able to help you promote your efforts.

Email a few brief details, well ahead of your event or activity, to fwfarmlife@rbi.co.uk.