Helpline offers practical advice to farmers ill with Covid-19

Farmers concerned about Covid-19 or struggling to work through illness can contact Farming Help for confidential advice and support.

Farming Help is a collaboration between The Addington Fund, Farming Community Network (FCN), Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (Rabi), Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI) and Forage Aid, and is supported by the Prince’s Countryside Fund.

Designed to support everyone in the farming community during the coronavirus pandemic, the partnership has set up a confidential helpline – operated by FCN – which is open 7am-11pm every day of the year.

See also: Coronavirus: Advice for managing and keeping staff safe

By calling 03000 111 999 (or 0300 111 4166 if in Scotland), farmers can access free advice and local support from all of the Farming Help charities.

Get in touch if you:

  • Feel concerned or anxious and would like to talk to someone who understands farming, will listen to you and help you think through your options
  • Would like help to draft a contingency plan to ensure you and your farm are prepared, should you be unable to work for a time
  • Need to find help locally, should you or people you rely on become ill or are self-isolating.

Farming Help aims to source contact details of local organisations and groups who may be able to assist with jobs such as feeding livestock, collecting shopping or collecting prescriptions.

The initiative is in conjunction with the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, the National Farmers’ Union, and the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust.

Callers will initially speak to a member of the helpline team, who understands the pressures of farming and the rural community. They will listen in confidence and then directly connect farmers with further support, as the caller wishes.

Anxious time for all

A Farming Help spokesman said: “We recognise that this could be an anxious time for many farmers and farming families and periods of poor health or self-isolation may result in temporary practical difficulties on farm.

“Don’t feel alone and don’t suffer in silence. If you are experiencing tough times or you are concerned about a neighbour or a friend, please get in touch.”

RSABI also advises that farmers take time to check in on each other, make sure they have neighbours’ phone numbers and create a farm emergency plan.

This includes vital information such as contact details, calving/lambing information, and where items such as medications and livestock records are kept, and can be personalised to your specific business.

A template example can be found on the Scottish Farm Advisory Service’s website

Where to find help

There are a number of resources for support and guidance for issues outside the Covid-19 pandemic, many of which are dedicated to helping farmers and the rural community.

Farming Community Network (FCN) Helpline 03000 111 999, email help@fcn.org.uk, or visit fcn.org.uk

Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (Rabi) Helpline 0808 281 9490, email help@rabi.org.uk, or visit rabi.org.uk

Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI) Helpline 0300 111 4166, email rsabi@rsabi.org.uk, or visit rsabi.org.uk

The DPJ Foundation (mental health farming charity in Wales) Helpline 0800 587 4262 or text 07860 048 799 or email Kate@thedpjfoundation.co.uk

The Samaritans Call 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org or visit samaritans.org

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