FCN partners with Nuffield Farming to deliver business and mental resilience programme

Press release originally issued by Nuffield Farming on 30 November

The Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust (NFST) has been awarded a grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation to fund a programme offering business and mental resilience support to the UK farming community.

The programme will be delivered in partnership with the Farming Community Network (FCN) and Focussed Farmers and will include a video series, mentorship programme, farm walk series, online webinar, newsletter, peer support networks and online workshops. This project sets out to provide support across the sector to those members of the farming community affected most by the hardships and isolation brought by this year’s challenges.

“We are delighted that the Garfield Weston Foundation have chosen to provide funding for this important project,” says Mike Vacher, Director of NFST. “This year has been full of agricultural challenges like drought and flooding, as well as further stress and isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Our hope is that by using the Nuffield Farming name, we will be able to reach those who would otherwise not approach other organisations due to the stigma around mental health.”

The programme is due to begin in November 2020 and will continue until Summer 2021. Webinar and event information will be published on the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust website (www.NuffieldScholar.org) and Nuffield Farming’s Eventbrite page (www.nuffieldfarming.eventbrite.org).

What will the programme include?

The Farming Community Network will produce a series of videos to help the farming community plan ahead for the future during this period of immense change. These will consist of a mix of in-depth interviews and shorter clips with farmers discussing topical subjects such as planning for Brexit, succession and diversification. 

“A lack of medium and long-term planning, and stresses caused by this, are common themes in many calls presenting to FCN’s Helpline every year,” says Jude McCann, FCN CEO and Nuffield Scholar. “With 2020 causing great disruption for many, and post-Brexit rural policy likely to affect our industry in significant ways for years to come, FCN is playing a key role in helping to support the farming community in preparing for the future and planning ahead. We are delighted to be working with the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust and Focussed Farmers in delivering this important partnership and supporting farmers’ business and mental resilience.”

Holly Beckett, Director of Focussed Farmers and Nuffield Scholar, will provide online workshops, discussion groups and an online social network for farmers to increase focus, productivity and well-being. This programme will explore real-life examples of how mindfulness practice and goal setting have helped UK farmers achieve personal and business growth, as well as provide strategies and tools for participants to take away and utilise themselves.

“Dealing with uncertainty is par for the course for farmers given that much of their business is reliant on weather, market prices and ever-changing consumer demands,” explains Holly, “and Brexit and COVID-19 are undoubtedly increasing the pressure they will have to deal with in the coming year. Discovering mental training has been transformational for many of the farmers that we have worked with through Focussed Farmers and ensured they manage their state of mind and personally take their mental health from good to great.”


Notes to the Editor:

About Focussed Farmers

Focussed Farmers is an organisation that provides an online programme to support self-leadership in farmers and agricultural sector workers. The programme provides practical tools and resources around mindfulness-based leadership and goal setting, including online workshops, one-to-one coaching sessions and ongoing peer-to-peer support for members through video conference and messaging platforms.

About The Farming Community Network

The Farming Community Network (FCN) is a voluntary organisation and charity that supports farmers and families within the farming community through difficult times. They have a network of over 400 volunteers across England and Wales, who provide free, confidential, pastoral and practical support to anyone who seeks help, regardless of whether the issue is personal or business-related. In addition to local groups of volunteers, FCN runs a confidential national helpline and e-helpline which is open every day of the year from 7am-11pm. They have helped thousands of people deal with a variety of issues, including financial difficulties, animal disease, mental health and family disputes.

About the Garfield Weston Foundation

Established in 1958, the Garfield Weston Foundation is a family- founded charitable grant-making trust which now gives away approximately £80 million a year to charities across the UK. Having established one of the most respected charitable institutions in the UK, the Weston Family Trustees today remain highly active and hands- on. The Foundation’s funding comes from an endowment of shares in the family business – a successful model that still endures today and as the businesses have grown so too have the charitable donations.

Each year the Foundation gives away its income and donations have continued to grow. Since it was established it has donated over £1 billion, of which over half has been given away in the past ten years alone. In the most recent financial year the Foundation gave away over £79 million to over 2,100 charities across the UK.

About the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust 

The Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust (NFST) is a registered charity (Reg. Charity No. 1098519) that awards approximately 20 scholarships annually in the UK to young people between the ages of 22 and 45 from across the agricultural industry.

There is no need for formal qualifications in order to apply for a Nuffield Scholarship; instead, the Trust looks to unlock an individual’s potential and broaden horizons through study and travel overseas. Scholars are selected with a view to developing tomorrow’s leaders within their individual business and the industry as a whole.

Nuffield Farming member countries span the globe, with established programmes in Australia, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Kenya, and Zimbabwe; Associate countries also include Brazil, USA, South Africa, and Southern Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan).

Nuffield Scholarships are only made possible by the generous support of sponsors from across agriculture and the food industry. NFST works with over 100 sponsors to develop individuals who will become tomorrow’s leaders and inspire change in our industry. 

Scholarship Eligibility

  • Applicants must work within the farming, food, horticulture, rural and associated industries or are in a position to influence these industries.
  • Applicants must be aged between 22 and 45 years (the upper age limit is 45 on 31st July in the year of application).
  • There is no requirement for academic qualifications, but applicants will already be well established in their career and demonstrate a passion for the industry they work in and be three years post-tertiary education.
  • Candidates must be resident in the UK and hold a UK passport or be working directly for UK agriculture.
  • Scholarships are not awarded to anyone in full-time education or to further research projects.
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