8 August 2001
Welcome for cash to fight stress

By FWi staff

A RURAL charity has welcomed a 400,000 government grant to help tackle stress among farmers affected by the foot-and-mouth crisis.

The cash will go to a second Rural Stress Action Plan, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs minister Alun Michael announced.

However, this will have a broader scope than the agricultural-based initiatives of the first scheme and address rural communities more generally.

The Rural Stress Information Network (RSIN), which administered the first scheme last November, said the toll of the crisis made this work even more vital.

RSIN director Caroline Davies said: “This second action plan will strengthen the partnership established between the charities and organisations under the first plan.

“It has enabled us to respond effectively to the unprecedented need for support from farming families and rural people over the past five months.

“We have worked in partnership to deliver support to make a difference to those in distress.”

The 2001 Rural Stress Action Plan will be administered by DEFRA, now joined by the Department of Health.

Mr Michael also said that a match-funding scheme for charities helping communities hit by the virus would continue until the end of September.

Calls for help with stress have increased dramatically since the beginning of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

The RSIN was inundated with calls and by the end of February it offered a 24-hour helpline, and a month later had installed a further eight telephone lines.

“Whatever the future holds we expect this winter will bring more families and individuals to the point of despair,” warned Ms Davies.

“The message is that help is available — however long-term or complicated the problems.”