Flood-hit farmers struggling to cope with the devastating aftermath of Storm Desmond will have their claims for help fast-tracked by Rabi.
The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (Rabi) gives out around £2m every year to farming people in financial difficulty. The charity also supports the farming community during disasters such as floods.
More than 55,000 homes were left without power in Cumbria after a month’s rainfall fell in 24 hours on Saturday (5 December). Dozens of sheep are feared drowned in the floods and swathes of farmland remained under water on Monday (7 December).
See also: 10 ways farmers can get help from Rabi
Floodwaters have also engulfed farms and farmland in Wales and the Scottish borders.
Rabi chief executive Paul Burrows said: “Farmers are resilient people but events such as this can quickly push someone to their limit. The impact on communities is huge.
“On a human level, many people have been forced to live upstairs without electricity, unable to even make a warm drink. For farming businesses, there are serious public health and animal welfare issues to contend with.
“We have fast-tracked our application process to make it easier and quicker for us to get money to eligible people, whether they are currently working in the industry, or are retired from farming but still affected by the crisis.”
From January to October, Rabi handed out more than £40,000 in grants in Cumbria alone – a 68% increase on the equivalent period in 2014.
Although it may not be possible for the charity’s welfare officers to visit farms currently cut off by floodwater, Rabi staff will do their utmost to quickly get information and forms to those who need rapid assistance.
For help, call Rabi’s freephone confidential helpline 0808 281 9490 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on how to make a donation to Rabi go to www.rabi.org.uk