by William Shilvock, Development Officer (Wales), The Farming Community Network
We’re stronger together, but it can be easy to forget this at times – especially when we’re physically separated from one another due to ongoing pandemic restrictions.
I’m sure we’re all glad to hear that things are moving in a positive direction, with the vaccine rollout helping to reduce the spread of Covid-19. We are hopeful that later this year in-person events will be taking place once more and we’ll all be able to come together as an industry.
During this time, The Farming Community Network (FCN) has provided ongoing support to those living and working in farming communities. As a charity operating throughout Wales and England, we have our ear to the ground and hear from farmers and farming families about issues they’re experiencing on their farms and their concerns about the future.
FCN is working with other charities and organisations to help create a resilient farming future and support farmers in adapting to the changes to come. To support farmers in Wales, the FarmWell Wales platform – a free, bilingual online resource containing lots of useful, up-to-date information about supporting your farm business and personal wellbeing – was launched by the Wales Farm Support Group in March 2020.
This is a collaboration between the Welsh Government, FCN, Farming Connect, the DPJ Foundation, Tir Dewi, Addington Fund, Mind Cymru, Mind Monmouthshire and RABI. You can access FarmWell Wales here: farmwell.wales or farmwell.cymru
Through FarmWell, we’re also helping the farming community prepare for the opportunities and changes ahead through our Time to Plan initiative. Over the past six months we’ve worked with thought leaders and industry experts to develop articles, guidance, top tips and more in relation to succession planning, diversification and more.
In the coming months we’ll also be launching new Rural+ training modules, aimed at 10-25 year old Young Farmers’ Club members and 16-25 year old agricultural students, to support young farmers’ mental health and wellbeing. As part of this initiative, titled ‘Supporting Together’, we’re working with the DPJ Foundation and National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs.
In all of these projects, collaboration is key. We need to work together as an industry and draw upon our individual services and expertise in order to provide the best possible support for farming people at this time. FCN welcomes opportunities to work closely with organisations in Wales with an aim to support the nation’s farming community.
Find out more about FCN: fcn.org.uk
Follow FCN on Twitter and Facebook: @FCNCymru