Farming Matters
Farming Matters

AS I write, it’s been announced that there will be some temporary lifting of restrictions over Christmas, but what a very strange year 2020 has been. We have got through it, but not without considerable anxiety and stress for everyone.
It’s therefore timely that we’ve launched our new online wellbeing and counselling service.
This initiative features two distinct websites – for adults and for those aged 11-17.
Users will be able to anonymously access farmer specific and more generic content, as well as a wealth of discussion boards, case studies and messaging functions.
There are many tools, such as a journal to record and track progress against personal goals, as well as tips and articles.
In addition, all users can access one-to-one counselling support from BACP recognised, qualified professionals through a chat function. The practitioners are trained in different forms of counselling, allowing them to meet individual needs and preferences.
It is really important that RABI remains visible to the farming community. The summer shows usually provide opportunities for us to sell things like cards and calendars; people make donations and you’d be surprised how often stallholders hold raffles for our benefit.
A few years ago I spent a fortune on raffle tickets at Westmorland trying, unsuccessfully, to win an Aga fire.
Just as important though is raising our profile; making ourselves known to people who might not be aware of us and what we do yet may need our help.
Many people have heard of us but don’t really know what we have to offer. Often, they will ask questions on “behalf of a friend”.
Of course any specific advice given is always confidential, but the priority is enquirers understand some of the things we can help with and feel confident enough to call our helpline for a chat. It’s really nice when someone we’ve helped gets in touch to say thank you. That’s probably the best publicity of all.
Christmas is usually a busy time for RABI. Hampers get delivered – everyone in receipt of ongoing, regular financial support gets one – and these are full of those little extras for Christmas, delivered to the door.
Often this delivery is carried out by a local volunteer. This year, however, we have had to rely on commercial delivery companies, efficient (and how we have all appreciated them these past few months) but not quite the same.
The other thing that usually keeps us busy at this time of year are carol services, often in a local mart.
It’s a fantastic way to meet up with old friends, sing your heart out, enjoy a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie, and raise some money in the process.
In the past I’ve been to wet and windy Gisburn Mart, the more modern confines of York and Penrith, and the beautiful Barnard Castle School chapel.
This year we were supposed to be having a service in the new Darlington Mart, but now it is going to have to wait until next year.
For more information on RABI’s services, or to donate, go to