At this worrying time for everyone, RSABI, the charity which supports people in Scottish agriculture, is gearing up to offer additional support to farming and crofting families.
These families, located throughout Scotland, are not only sharing the widespread public concern about Covid-19, but they are also dealing with the long hours and stresses of lambing, calving and other spring work.
RSABI, the charity which supports people in Scottish agriculture, is reminding farmers and crofters it is very much open for business and ready to offer financial, practical and emotional support. The charity’s helpline – 0300 1114166 – continues to be fully operational and available 365 days a year, from 7 am to 11 pm.
In particular, the charity is urging people in the agricultural community to try harder than ever to find time to talk to each other, given the additional strains being felt at this already hectic time of year.
“On farms up and down the country at this time of year families are working very long hours to ensure animals are well looked after and spring work is done. They are delivering vital work to help provide food but too often they forget to look after themselves properly at this stressful and tiring time of year,” said Mrs Granger.
It can also, said Mrs Granger, be hard to find the extra time to make that phone call to check on an elderly or vulnerable friend, a neighbour or family member is ok. However, this year in particular, when elderly people in rural areas could feel more isolated than ever, she said it was vital to keep a lookout for each other.
The helpline is fully operational and open for business and during the past few weeks, the team at RSABI have also significantly increased the number of phone calls they have made to vulnerable rural people, many living on their own.
“We have taken the decision to increase the frequency of the calls we are making to people we know could be lonely or in need of practical help with things like getting groceries to their homes,” she said.
Mrs Granger said even small gestures of kindness could make a very big difference to the outlook of an anxious person living on their own.
She also encouraged people to be vigilant for signs of stress, including looking out for include someone being unusually dishevelled or perhaps drinking more alcohol than they would usually.
People who are affected may be grumpier than usual and reluctant to go out and about or answer the phone as well as failing to prioritise important tasks.
The key, said Mrs Granger, is to look for a change from what is normal for the individual causing concern.
She also urged people not to ignore any signs which become evident, pointing out that if there is something wrong, the sooner that help is sought the better.
“The stark reality is that every week one farmer in the UK commits suicide so it is much better to ask and see if you can help than to wish you had asked after it is too late,” she added.
RSABI is currently helping 25 – 30 new clients every month and increasing its number of supporters is vital to ensure it can meet demand going forward.
The charity is aiming to double the memberships of its individual, business and corporate membership schemes by autumn 2020.
Membership of RSABI’s Individual Supporters’ Scheme costs just £25 a year – great value at just £2 a month.
More information on becoming a supporter can be found on the website www.rsabi.org.uk/Donate .
Notes for editors:
- RSABI is a registered Scottish charity – No. SC009828
- RSABI provides emotional, practical and financial support to people involved in Scottish agriculture. Support is provided discreetly with assurance of confidentiality.
- RSABI runs a supporters’ scheme offering individual, business and corporate membership.
- RSABI runs a confidential helpline (co-funded by the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland), 0300 1114166, which people from Scottish agriculture are encouraged to call if they are in need of support.
RSABI’s Registered Office is at The Rural Centre, West Mains of Ingliston, Newbridge, Midlothian EH28 8LT
Please note that RSABI should be referred to using the initials RSABI (and not its former name, Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution). RSABI is the charity’s legal name.