Emergency family crisis fund

3 April 1998

Emergency family crisis fund

AN EMERGENCY fund to help farming families facing serious financial difficulties has been established by the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI).

Angela Barton, RABI chairman, said the charity had received reports of an increasing number of farming families in England and Wales who were struggling to make ends meet.

"While the RABI is not able to provide financial assistance for farming businesses, we are able to help towards the everyday personal needs of farmers and their dependents. This could take the form of settling outstanding household bills, or making money available for the familys immediate essential needs," Ms Barton said.

"It also appears that many farming families are unaware of the state welfare assistance to which they could be eligible. To help overcome this, we are setting up a confidential telephone helpline service. We will be able to provide callers with information about the support to which they may be entitled and the help which RABI can provide."

Recognising that farmers tended to be self-sufficient, independent, and often reluctant to ask for help, Ms Barton said the challenge facing RABI was to identify those in need. "And we are seeking the support of all sectors of the industry to encourage those in need of help to make contact. All information we receive concerning prospective beneficiaries, either directly or through a third party, will be treated in strict confidence."

Initially no limit has been set on the extent of emergency funding available. Anyone wanting to find out how RABI can help should phone (01865-727888). Evening and weekend callers should leave a message on the answerphone.

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