We have adapted our internal processes in order to continue providing support to the farming community during these times of uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus.
These changes allow our staff to work remotely, in line with government guidance, while continuing to provide a much-needed service for farmers. Our welfare officers, who normally make home visits to those we support, are currently looking after our helpline. They have also been working hard to contact the hundreds of people we already help.
Trish Pickford, Head of Welfare, explained: “We’re calling people we already support, prioritising the most vulnerable, to see if there’s anything we can do for them.
“For some, just having someone to talk to is a huge help during this time of social distancing and isolation. Those we support long-term really appreciate receiving a call and knowing that we’re here to help.”
In March, we received 22 calls via our helpline as a result of the Coronavirus, which was the most cited reason for contacting us. Trish explained: “The main issue we’re seeing as a result of the pandemic is that those who earn additional money off-farm have now lost their second income stream. Many farmers’ spouses have lost their jobs and can no longer provide that extra financial security.
“One couple who contacted us can no longer make deliveries of meat as they both have underlying health conditions and have been forced to self-isolate. They have no other means of generating income.”
While the knock-on effects of the Coronavirus have had a huge impact on the farming community, existing issues are still a cause for concern. Last month, 76 people contacted us for the first time as a result of issues other than the pandemic, such as an injury.
Trish added: “People are still coming to us with the same problems they had before the outbreak, but some of those everyday issues are being exacerbated by the Coronavirus.”
If you, or anyone you know, needs help please don’t hesitate to call us on our freephone helpline 0800 188 4444