A charity helping farmers in times of hardship is hosting a Joules Seconds Sale in Barway next week.
The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) hopes to raise funds to help struggling farming families.
Established in 1860, RABI is farming’s oldest and largest welfare charity, and most of its recipients are elderly or disabled.
RABI helped self-employed farm contractor Simon turn his life around after losing his wife to terminal cancer.
Simon had cared for his wife for three years while trying to hold down his job, receiving little outside help and support.
Following her death, he became so depressed that he contemplated suicide. The only thing stopping him was the thought of leaving his dog uncared for. His work suffered as a result of his depression and by the time RABI got involved, Simon was almost penniless.
The charity helped pay off some of his debts, sorted out his council tax and housing benefit and gave him food vouchers for everyday living. They put Simon in touch with a local farming support group and helped to get him counselling for his grief.
In his early 50s, Simon is now on the road to recovery and considering training in pest control to boost his income, which RABI can help subsidise.
Last year RABI gave out grants of £1.99 million to 1260 individuals and families, including £297,000 to working families. More than £197,000 went towards paying domestic bills, while £241,000 went towards care home top-up fees for elderly farmers.
The charity’s welfare team also helped people claim around £473k in state benefits in 2017 – a 65% increase on the 2016 figure of £287k.
Trish Pickford, RABI’s head of welfare, said: “A lot of time and effort goes into providing information for people who contact us, which does not necessarily show up in our grant-giving statistics. This includes things such as signposting people to other charities as well as giving advice on claiming benefits and local authority funding procedures.
“The nature of our work today is more time consuming and more complex than in the past.”
Anyone with a farming background in need of help can call RABI’s confidential, free helpline on 0808 281 9490 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Joules Seconds Sale will take place from 6pm to 8pm at the Social Centre at G’s at Barway on Thursday, April 19.