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BY MICHAEL BARKER

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New programme supports farmer mental health

Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust initiative will offer support to UK farming community at a time of unprecedented pressure

New programme supports farmer mental health

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The Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust (NFST) has been awarded a grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation to fund a programme offering business and mental resilience support to the UK farming community.

The programme will be delivered in partnership with the Farming Community Network (FCN) and Focussed Farmers and will include a video series, mentorship programme, farm walk series, online webinar, newsletter, peer support networks and online workshops.

The project sets out to provide support across the sector to those members of the farming community affected most by the hardships and isolation brought by this year’s challenges.

“We are delighted that the Garfield Weston Foundation have chosen to provide funding for this important project,” said Mike Vacher, director of NFST. “This year has been full of agricultural challenges like drought and flooding, as well as further stress and isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Our hope is that by using the Nuffield Farming name, we will be able to reach those who would otherwise not approach other organisations due to the stigma around mental health.”

The programme is due to begin in November 2020 and will continue until Summer 2021. Webinar and event information will be published on the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust website and Nuffield Farming’s Eventbrite page.

The Farming Community Network will produce a series of videos to help the farming community plan ahead for the future during this period of immense change. These will consist of a mix of in-depth interviews and shorter clips with farmers discussing topical subjects such as planning for Brexit, succession and diversification. 

“A lack of medium and long-term planning, and stresses caused by this, are common themes in many calls presenting to FCN’s Helpline every year,” said Jude McCann, FCN CEO and Nuffield scholar. “With 2020 causing great disruption for many, and post-Brexit rural policy likely to affect our industry in significant ways for years to come, FCN is playing a key role in helping to support the farming community in preparing for the future and planning ahead. We are delighted to be working with the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust and Focussed Farmers in delivering this important partnership and supporting farmers’ business and mental resilience.”

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