NEW HERITAGE PROJECT TO HELP ADDRESS LONELINESS IN FARMING AND RURAL AREAS

A new research pilot developed by the University of Edinburgh and supported by The Farming Community Network (FCN) charity hopes to help address loneliness in rural areas – and reacquaint people with farming’s exciting heritage.

The Farmers Take 30 Together Virtual (T30TV) pilot invites participants from across the UK to escape, explore and e-socialize with farming heritage, through virtual sessions on Wednesday evenings in March 2022.

The Farmers T30TV pilot programme will be a mix of fascinating and engaging heritage stories and insights. Some of the sessions will focus on heritage related directly to farming and others will have non-farming heritage content, to support opportunities of ‘trying new things’ and potentially developing new interest areas.

Sessions will include forward thinking farmers of the 1920s; rural superstitions; and the incredible work of bees.

Farmers T30TV will run every Wednesday evening, 7.30-8.30pm, from Wednesday 2 March to Wednesday 30 March 2022. The pilot is hoping to recruit farmers and farming families across the UK. To get involved or to learn more, email prescribeculture@ed.ac.uk

The pilot follows a recent study by the University of Exeter’s Centre for Rural Policy Research and FCN into causes of loneliness and isolation in farming – and ways of providing additional support to the farming community: https://fcn.org.uk/research/

Alex Phillimore, Head of Communications and Development with The Farming Community Network, said: “This project is an exciting opportunity for people in rural areas to join virtual tours to learn more about farming’s heritage in the UK. A lack of social opportunities in farming can amplify feelings of loneliness and isolation. We hope this project will provide a unique opportunity for like-minded people to come together and learn more about the fascinating history and heritage of farming.”

Ruthanne Baxter, Museums Manager and Prescribe Culture Lead, from the University of Edinburgh, said: “As someone from a farming family in rural, County Fermanagh, I am aware of the long hours and lone working the farming community do and the knock-on effect that has on work/life balance and opportunities to socialise. Prescribe Culture’s Take 30 Together Virtual programme evidences benefits to mental wellbeing, particularly increasing sense connection and contribution, as well as developing new interests. Having studied the recommendations from the research carried out by Exeter University and FCN, I am keen to see if developing a bespoke Farmers T30TV programme, can bring those same benefits to the farming community.”

If you know someone who you feel would benefit from talking confidentially to FCN, the charity can be contacted on 𝟎𝟑𝟎𝟎𝟎 𝟏𝟏𝟏 𝟗𝟗𝟗 (7am-11pm, 365 days of the year) 𝐨𝐫 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩@𝐟𝐜𝐧.𝐨𝐫𝐠.𝐮𝐤.

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