The Farmers’ Union of Wales has raised close to £40,000 for its charities Alzheimer’s Society Cymru and the Farming Community Network, following two years of successful fundraising.
There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease or any other type of dementia, research is desperately underfunded and there are not enough researchers and clinicians joining the fight against dementia.
Alzheimer's Society is committed to spending at least £150 million over the next decade on dementia research to improve care for people today and find a cure for tomorrow. This includes £50 million to develop the UK’s first dedicated Dementia Research Institute.
The Farming Community Network (FCN) is a charity that supports farmers and families within the farming community through difficult times. FCN is a network of over 400 volunteers, with around 40 based in Wales, many of whom are involved in farming, or have close links with agriculture and therefore have a great understanding of the issues farmers and farming families regularly face.
FCN runs a confidential national helpline and e-helpline which is open every day of the year from 7am-11pm. Volunteers provide free, confidential, pastoral and practical support to anyone who seeks help, whether the issue is personal or business-related.
Presenting the money to the charities, with Alzheimer's Society Cymru receiving £29,628.31 and the Farming Community Network £9,876.10, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “I am proud to present these two fantastic charities with the funds our members and staff have raised over the last 2 years.
“We have held many events, including breakfast functions, walked close to 800 miles, held Bingo events and Whist drives to raise money and all of this would not have happened without the dedication and determination of everyone involved.
“Dementia is a growing health problem - 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia, and there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. Delaying the onset of dementia by five years would halve the number of deaths from the condition, saving 30,000 lives a year.
“With an anticipated increase in the number of cases of 156 per cent between now and 2051, it equates to two million people, and the burden will fall on rural areas where there are significantly higher proportions of elderly people. So this not something that we can ignore and more research is desperately needed.
“We also wanted to continue our pledge to support farmers who need support in difficult times and raise awareness of mental health problems in rural communities.
“In our places of work we’ve faced some pretty low-points in the last few years. Bovine TB, price volatility and uncertainty about our future post-Brexit, this all puts a strain on our resolve and will have many feeling stressed and under immense pressure. That’s why the work of charities like the Farming Community Network is so important and we’re happy that we can help in supporting their efforts.”
Natalie de Maid, Regional Community Fundraising Manager, said: “I’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to every single person at FUW who has raised money for Alzheimer’s Society Cymru – it’s absolutely amazing that together you have raised nearly £30,000.
“Every penny we raise helps us to support people affected by dementia, fund research and challenge perceptions. We are proud to support people living with dementia in rural Wales and recognise the challenges they face.
“Research will beat dementia, but we need more funding to find a cure. However, it’s not all about a cure – we also need to research cause, care and prevention. By uniting against dementia together we can improve the lives of the 45,000 people in Wales living with dementia.”
David Williams, FCN Wales Regional Director, said: “FCN’s presence across Wales has been enhanced significantly thanks to our partnership with the FUW. Our volunteer numbers have increased and more and more farmers in Wales are turning to us for help.
“We are incredibly grateful to Glyn Roberts and everyone involved with the FUW for the incredible fundraising efforts they have undertaken over the last two years. The money raised will go a long way in helping us reach out to even more farmers in Wales and help them prepare for the numerous challenges that lie ahead.
“Our status as a presidential charity might be coming to an end, but we intend to build upon the wonderful relationship we have with the FUW and look forward to continue working with them for many years to come.”