FARMERS and rural communities will benefit from health and wellbeing support across the North of England over the next two years, following a successful £150,000 funding bid.

The six-figure sum, awarded by Defra is being shared between The Farmer Network Ltd in Cumbria, the Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s Yorkshire Rural Support Network, Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services (UTASS) based in the Durham Dales and Field Nurse, which operates across Lancashire and North Yorkshire.

The funding comes at a time when farmers are working hard to meet the challenges of adapting to major changes to government farm payments, while recent months of wet weather has damaged crops and resulted in high losses over lambing.

Using the funds, the bid partners will deliver 14 farming focused first aid training courses, ten mental health awareness courses for farmers and those working with farmers, and activities to reduce isolation in rural communities such as social events, lunch clubs, farm visits and other trips.

There will be support for groups, such as women in farming, the over 50s and younger farmers over the age of 28 who are too old to attend Young Farmer Club events. Some 38 events will be organised by UTASS, The Farmer Network and the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

Regular outreach clinics will be set up at seven auction marts across Cumbria, Yorkshire and Durham before the end of 2024 to provide useful information about farm support schemes, to help farmers access their Rural Payments Agency account and to signpost to other support.

One-to-one advice will be provided to 22 farm businesses, and four workshops will help farming communities become more resilient by focusing on topics such as succession planning and health and safety on farms.

Field Nurse will be recruiting two more Field Nurses and an extra trailer to extend its service into two new auction marts in Cumbria and North Yorkshire, and to expand its’ ‘Farming Stronger for Longer’ campaign into Cumbria and Yorkshire.

Adam Day, managing director of the Farmer Network Ltd, said: “We very much welcome this funding from Defra which will enable us to deliver a range of activities to support farmer health and welfare.”