R.A.B.I would like to reach out to farming families who are suffering financial hardship in the Northumberland and County Durham areas.
Typically, we help an estimated 1,500 farming families per year but Tom Armstrong, our welfare officer for Northumberland and County Durham, says that in his region farmers are extremely reluctant to step forward and claim available funding.
In 2014, the charity gave out grants of more than £200k across Yorkshire, but in Durham the sum paid out was less than £15,500 for the same period. Tom said: “Only one new person from County Durham has come forward to ask for help in the past two years. Wherever I go no one seems to have heard of R.A.B.I, even though we are a well-established charity and this is a very strong farming area.”
R.A.B.I does not cover Scotland, but Tom helps more people north of the border than he does in County Durham. These are usually people who initially sought the charity’s help when they lived in England and have continued to receive ongoing support. He says those affected by such things as falling commodity prices or flooding need not suffer in silence.
He explained: “In small communities I understand that people can be reluctant to seek help and there’s a determination to struggle on and manage on your own. However, R.A.B.I exists to help farming people through tough times when they’ve nothing to fall back on, so they can carry on doing what they love. We work in complete confidence and all enquiries are treated with compassion and discretion.”
R.A.B.I has paid out £30-40k in the last month to farmers in Cumbria affected by flooding. However, the charity has not received a single request for help from a flood victim in either Northumberland or Durham, even though it is fast-tracking claims using a simplified application process.
Tom added: “It’s important that we keep trying to raise awareness of what we do. In Northumberland and County Durham there are a lot of small farms and tenant farmers so we want to catch people who need assistance and let them know that it’s OK to ask for help.
“Today, many people in the farming world continue to struggle through no fault of their own – which means the work of R.A.B.I is just as relevant as it ever was. Many people are surprised when they discover exactly how much help R.A.B.I can offer and the diverse ways in which this support is provided.”
To apply for financial help please call the Freephone confidential helpline 0808 281 9490 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.