THE Penrith-based Farmer Network has been singled out for emergency funding to help them with their push to support farmers in the county during the coronavirus pandemic.

The organisation is one of 12 farmer networks across the UK to receive a share of the £46,143 made available to The Prince's Countryside Fund thanks to the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust.

Veronica Waller, Senior Project Manager for the Farmer Network said: “COVID-19 has increased farmer isolation at a time of great change and uncertainty for the industry. This funding will help the Farmer Network provide one to one advice and encourage farmers to attend events – both on-line and small face-to-face meetings subject to restrictions. We want to help farmers connect with each other to find out information, share their experiences and reduce isolation.”

She added: "Topics for meetings over the next six months will include COVID-19 related issues such as arrangements for the autumn breeding sales, but will also include other topics that are affecting farmers, such as the Agriculture Bill."

The funding comes as The Prince's Countryside Fund celebrates National Countryside Week until July 26, and the work of UK farm support groups.The Fund is launching its National Directory of Farm and Rural Support Groups. The directory lists 69 regional, national, and membership organisations who can provide support, advice, and guidance to farming and rural communities. The directory signposts to support for farmers who might be in crisis. Poor mental health is on the rise in rural and farming communities, so making support groups easy to find and accessible is vital.

In a video message of support, Fund Ambassador Adam Henson has launched the directory. The video can be seen at

Adam Henson said: “I’m very proud to be an ambassador for The Prince’s Countryside Fund. Tragically, one farmer a week takes their own life, so I'm pleased to be helping launch and support the National Directory for Farm and Rural Support Groups. This pocket-sized directory means that if you come across people in the countryside who are struggling and need support, you can point them in the right direction.”

Originally created by YANA, a farming mental health charity working across Norfolk, Suffolk, and Worcestershire, the directory has been updated to include 21 new support groups.

Keith Halstead, Executive Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said: “We are proud to be able to support UK farm support groups, both financially through our grant programme, and by highlighting the importance of their work in our National Directory of Farm and Rural Support Groups."

He added: “Over the past year, through the work of our Farm Support Coordinator Diane Spark, we have been supporting these networks to share best practice, communicate more easily with each other, and advocate on their behalf to government and other bodies. Our aim for the future is to make these networks more sustainable and help them to grow, ensuring that all UK farmers can receive local help when desired.

“Thank you to the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust for supporting our grant making during the pandemic, and to our corporate partners for their backing of the National Directory of Farm and Rural Support Groups.”

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, The Prince’s Countryside Fund has released nearly £170,000 to 75 projects across the UK, to support rural and farming communities cope with the impact of the pandemic.

If you would like to be included in the next edition of the National Farm and Rural Support Directory, please email