Farming Community Network -Action and Research on Loneliness

A new research pilot developed by the University of Edinburgh and supported by The Farming Community Network (FCN) charity hopes to help address loneliness in rural areas – and reacquaint people with farming’s exciting heritage.

The Farmers Take 30 Together Virtual (T30TV) pilot invites participants from across the UK to escape, explore and e-socialize with farming heritage, through virtual sessions on Wednesday evenings in March 2022.

The Farmers T30TV pilot programme will be a mix of fascinating and engaging heritage stories and insights. Some of the sessions will focus on heritage related directly to farming and others will have non-farming heritage content, to support opportunities of ‘trying new things’ and potentially developing new interest areas.

Sessions will include forward thinking farmers of the 1920s; rural superstitions; and the incredible work of bees.

Farmers T30TV will run every Wednesday evening, 7.30-8.30pm, from Wednesday 2 March to Wednesday 30 March 2022. The pilot is hoping to recruit farmers and farming families across the UK. To get involved or to learn more, email [email protected]

If you know someone who you feel would benefit from talking confidentially to FCN, the charity can be contacted on 𝟎𝟑𝟎𝟎𝟎 𝟏𝟏𝟏 𝟗𝟗𝟗 (7am-11pm, 365 days of the year) 𝐨𝐫 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩@𝐟𝐜𝐧.𝐨𝐫𝐠.𝐮𝐤.

The pilot follows a recent study by the University of Exeter’s Centre for Rural Policy Research and FCN into causes of loneliness and isolation in farming – and ways of providing additional support to the farming community:

Working with the University of Exeter, the Farming Community Network (FCN) looked into loneliness, social isolation and mental health within the rural community.

They found the causes of isolation and loneliness on farms include long working hours, a lack of social opportunities, poor internet access and being disconnected from the wider public.

They also found loneliness was linked to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, both of which are a serious issue in farming.

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute’s Big Farming Survey, also undertaken by the University of Exeter also reflect this.

The results showed 36% of farmers who responded described themselves as ‘possibly’ or ‘probably’ depressed, and 58% of female participants were experiencing anxiety.

As a result of the survey findings, the FCN launched the ‘Who’s your Julie? campaign, encouraging those in the farming community to identify someone they can turn to for much-needed support.

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