Today marks the 160th anniversary of RABI, which was founded in 1860 by John Mechi, the son of an Italian businessman.
Mechi’s concern about poverty in the farming community led him to write to The Times to rally support. He received donations of 1,700 guineas and 450 pledges to make annual donations.
The first meeting of the charity, then known as the Agricultural Benevolent Institution, took place on February 7, 1860. By the end of 1861, the charity had granted £300 to farming people – equivalent to around £36,000 today.
Over the past 160 years, the support RABI can offer has grown. In 2019, we gave around £2.9m in grants to 1,358 farmers and their families. However, the support we provide is not just financial. Our welfare officers take the time to get to know the people we help and find appropriate solutions to their problems.
Last year, our officers made more than 1,500 home visits. Not only did they meet with people who had contacted us for the first time, but they also caught up with those we’ve helped before to find out how things are going and what RABI could do to make them more comfortable.
We helped 128 people claim state benefits. Often, the application forms are long and confusing, and people are not always aware of what they are entitled to. Our welfare officers understand the benefits system and can help people fill out the paperwork.
Much has changed since 1860, but our core mission remains the same – to support those in the farming community. Call our confidential freephone helpline to find out how we can help you: 0800 188 4444