As a charity, Farm Cornwall has been running since 2001, setup by a group of farmers and landowners in the far West of Cornwall. Those farmers and landowners are still with us today however. the reach now goes up to the Devon Border and sometimes beyond.
The charity is supported by the Prince’s Countryside Fund, Duchy Benevolent Fund, Garfield Weston Trust, Tanner Trust and Saputo Dairies, plus private funds from 3 local estates and donations. Justgiving.com/farmcornwall
Referrals come from banks, vets, trade, family members, landlords and friends.
Farm Cornwall are seeing more people being referred with mental health issues, concern over debt, they have worked so hard and got nowhere, red tractor issues, BPS/CS issues raised by the RPA. I would say dealing with these issues is 85% of the work we do. Where they differ from FCN in that they advise on a range of issues from debt, financial, successional, family disputes, mental and physical health. They will work alongside FCN, RABI, Addington, Social workers and the police if necessary for instance if a gun needs to be removed as there is a risk of suicide. Both BIAC Member Edward Richardson and his colleague have received mental health first aider training and suicide prevention training.
For those farms you feel at risk or you haven’t heard from in a while because farmers haven’t got that access to markets, they could be shielding elderly parents or shielding children at risk with Asma for example, as well as parents having to home school life could be stressful, then add in those normal stress factors mentioned above.
What Farm Cornwall have done since Covid started;
- Is to raise our facebook page presence which has gone from 180 as private to 1100 public, facebook -Edward Richardson(Farm Cornwall).
- Raised quarterly posted newsletter to monthly ( they always contain a joke). Still posted as it sits around the kitchen
- In between the various lockdowns organised breakfast meetings at local farm shops, roadside café, town café around the county and invited 4-5 farmers and always asked the farmers that Edward knew to bring someone along who they thought would be glad of a bit of company, just for an hour or two and talk about anything.
- Every week Edward will randomly phone a few farmers up to see how they are doing. Recently, Edward rang up a family who I know the husband had been extremely close to taking his own life, they were losing part of their farm to a development, he was struggling with going digital on accounts and how that was going work, his wife had been furloughed, they couldn’t get to the bank as most of their trading was by cheque and I later discovered the son had just recovered from cancer. When he rang yesterday the son has just recovered from covid and he and his wife both had covid and he was extremely worried but OK. He will ring tomorrow to see how they are.
- Another farmer they dealt with his friend contacted us for help and she would score him 1 having a good day, 9 ready to jump of a cliff. He wouldn’t talk at first and over a twelve month period I would talk to the friend and ask how he was and she would give the score, we put in place a more local contact through FCN as it would take me nearly 2 hours to get there from Penzance. Sometimes he was 4, or a 6 and I think 8 was the highest we got to, finally he agreed to talk. They put in place a business plan, worked with his bank, his creditors, his father and just occasionally rang him up to ask how he was, not his business, him.
- What Edward would take from the ASSIST suicide prevention is be direct and just ask how someone is, not how the business is how they are! They will appreciate it.
To find out more about Farm Cornwall, please email Edward Richardson firstname.lastname@example.org