The value of charitable grants paid to farmers in desperate financial situations soared in the first half of the year as families suffered from the combined effects of flooding, low commodity prices and subsidy payment delays.
A huge spike in grant funding was seen in North Yorkshire where farming welfare charity RABI distributed £90,347 to farmers in financial hardship between January and June - more than £30,000 extra than the same period last year.
In fact the half-year figure is close to the £122,509 total grant aid given out by RABI in North Yorkshire over the course of the whole of last year.
The charity provided financial help in 83 cases in what is its biggest area for benefactors in the region during the first half of 2016, compared to 65 families in the first six months of 2015.
Across the whole of Yorkshire, some £115,373 was shared between RABI grant recipients between January and June.
Sally Conner, the charity’s regional manager for Yorkshire and the North East, said: “There are many factors contributing to these increases, including flooding, falling prices and delays in Basic Payments.
“The support we are able to provide is extremely important. We do hear comments more and more that ‘if it wasn’t for RABI I wouldn’t be here now’ and it’s so humbling.
“The positive side of that is that it proves we are getting to help the people that need our help the most. The one thing we really want to emphasise is to ask people who think they might need a little help to call us before it gets too difficult and too hard to cope.”
RABI helps working farmers, farm workers and their families who rely on farming for their main source of income, as well as retired farmers, farm workers and their dependants.
The charity is funded by donations, investment income and money raised at events arranged by county committees, businesses, community groups and fundraising staff and it has risen to the challenge of increasing demand for its help by raising extra funds so far this year.
Voluntary income over the first six months of the year has risen from £24,681 in the same period last year, to £45,436 in 2016.
Voluntary income generated in North Yorkshire during the whole of 2015 was £48,441.
Mrs Conner said: “I would explain that rise in income as a result of RABI’s raised profile because of the floods. I also think people are becoming much more aware of what goes on in the countryside and in farming.
“I would like to say what a huge contribution our supporters are making to help our farming community carry on farming. Every single bit helps and the money raised in that county is spent in that county.”
RABI is holding two major fundraising events in the weeks ahead: a golf day at Kirbymoorside for teams of four on September 21 and ‘The Magic of Farming’ black tie ball at Tennants Auction Centre in Leyburn on October 15.
Team entry for the golfing day costs £150 and tickets for the ball are £45. For bookings and more details, call Sally Conner on 07818 093506 or 01964 541400.
RABI’s confidential helpline number is 0808 281 9490.
RURAL IMAGES TO RAISE FUNDS
A 2017 calendar - Farming in Focus - has been launched this week by the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust.
It features stunning images of British agriculture taken and donated by 13 photographers who are members of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists, and the proceeds from sales go to RABI.
Pat Davies, a RABI trustee, said: “We’re very grateful for NFU Mutual Charitable Trust’s support as it means that all the proceeds from calendar sales will go directly to helping those in greatest need in the farming community.”
The calendar can be ordered by calling 01268 888063.