10 ways farmers can get help from the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (Rabi) has been around since 1860, providing help to those in financial difficulty in farming. 

However, many people don’t realise how much help the charity provides to working farmers and farmworkers.

In 2014, it gave out £1.9m in grants and almost £300k went to working farmers. Year upon year, the charity is doing more to help those still active in the industry.

How does Rabi help the working farmer? 

1. Covering costs if a sick child is in hospital

Coping with a child in hospital is bad enough without having to worry about how you will cover the expense of being with them when they need you.

Many specialist hospitals are not “down the road”.  

2. Paying domestic utility bills

Rabi can help working farmers by providing one-off emergency grants to help with domestic bills in times of hardship.

Many people fall into financial difficulty through circumstances beyond their control, such as ill health, accidents, extreme weather or animal disease.

3. Providing food vouchers and hampers

Rabi sent out 865 Christmas hampers and bouquets of flowers last year, in addition to cards and flowers at other times of the year, such as on beneficiaries’ birthdays.

The charity also gives out food vouchers to those struggling to feed their families.

4. Paying for farm staff if you’re sick or injured

Although they cannot help with the payment of business bills, Rabi may be able to pay for relief workers to work on the farm in times of crisis – when farmers cannot do the work themselves and are unable to pay for someone else to do it. 

5. Buying white goods 

Where there’s a genuine need, Rabi can pay for a whole host of things such as washing machines and fridges. For example, the charity recently bought a new cooker for someone who, for medical reasons, needed an eye-level grill. 

6. Purchasing disability equipment

Rabi will pay for larger items that disabled people need but cannot afford, such as electrically powered wheelchairs, riser/recliner chairs, stairlifts and specialist all-terrain mobility scooters.

7. Helping you claim state benefits and tax credits

In 2014, the charity helped people from the farming community obtain £378,935 in benefit payments.

Welfare officers visit retired farmers and farmworkers to check they are in receipt of all the state benefits they are entitled to and help with applications on their behalf.

Once a year, welfare officers visit beneficiaries to carry out a financial review and talk about problems that may have arisen since the previous visit.

8 Arranging free debt advice

In addition to the help given by Rabi’s regional welfare officers, free confidential advice can be provided through referrals to Payplan, which offers valuable assistance on personal finances.    

9. Organising free business appraisals

Rabi will consider putting you in touch with Promar, a consultancy specialising in farm and agrifood business advice.

Following an initial visit, Rabi’s welfare officers can direct people to Promar and the first half-day’s consultancy is free. 

10. Providing grants for vocational training

The Gateway Project provides vocational training grants for established working farmers who are not making enough income from the farm alone.

It enables them to build upon their existing skills and experience, or learn new skills, to gain qualifications leading to secondary employment to supplement the farm income.


For confidential help and advice call the helpline on 0300 3037373 or email grants@rabi.org.uk