Shropshire Star

Number of calls to farming charity continues to rise

Jack’s mobile rings, an unknown number, should he answer, so much to do in the next hour.

Christine Downes, member of the Shropshire RABI committee

The cattle needed feeding, sheep fence needed repairing before they were out again, he needed to check how much diesel was left in the tank, he needed to talk to the bank manager, the list in his mind was getting longer.

This time a caring voice said “How are you feeling today? Are you able to manage to visit your daughter in hospital?”

What a relief to be able to explain the situation, to someone who could listen, the words tumbled out, the family was only just coping.

The worry of money spent on fuel, their young daughter was receiving specialist treatment at a hospital a distance away. Jack didn’t think he could spare any more time off from the farm, family and neighbours were helpful looking after their older children; but had their own commitments. Everything had happened so quickly, the illness had been diagnosed last week.

The phone call from a volunteer with Shropshire Rural Support (0300 123 2825) was a blessing, offering empathy and support. Within a short time another phone call from Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (0800 188 4444) was arranging a welfare officer to talk through help that could be available.

RABI is the farming charity that can offer financial, practical and emotional help in a crisis. Jack and his family would be offered relief help on the farm, checking on any extra benefits, and the knowledge that the family would have continued support.

RABI has recently received national awards – Charity of the Year (annual income £5m+) and a finalist in the Third Sector, for their farming-tailored counselling service and mental health training, launched earlier in 2022.

This service is proving very valuable and the number of calls is continuing to rise, for the confidential 24/7 free helpline to support the well being of farming people.

In Shropshire, the charity has spent £72,695 up to the end of August, nationally over £2.8 million has been spent, much on food vouchers, fuel poverty and back to school help.

Our champion runner Mervin Mullard completed the Great North Run, with his TV appearance attracting a further £100, in total he raised a magnificent £1,112.50. He will be organising the famous quiz in January with date and venue to be confirmed.

We are grateful for all donations, which continues the support of our farming community. For further information please contact regional manager Kate Jones on 07876 492839 or

If you would like Christmas cards and calendars they will be on sale at St Mary’s Shrewsbury or contact Kate.

Christine Downes is a member of the Shropshire RABI committee

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