Volunteers are the front line for FCN in our work to support the farming community. We have a fantastic team of volunteers operating our helpline and conducting case work, but did you know there are many other ways you can get involved in the charity?
Below are just a few ways you might like to consider volunteering with FCN:
1. Take an active role in your FCN group
FCN county groups meet regularly and are always looking for people to help organise meetings, take minutes, follow up on actions etc. Being part of an FCN volunteer group is a great way of meeting like-minded individuals and sharing knowledge and experience to support the farming community. Find out more about FCN volunteer groups here: https://fcn.org.uk/your-local-fcn-team/
2. Be a wellbeing ‘Lookout’ in your local area
‘Lookouts’ are early responders in their communities, spotting the signs that someone might be having it tough and starting a conversation to offer support. Lookouts play a vital role in encouraging people to ask for help before they reach a point of crisis, and connecting individuals to charities such as FCN.
3. Help to tackle isolation and loneliness
Help to organise a coffee morning, afternoon tea or a ‘walk and talk’ to bring people in your local community together, or act as a welcoming point of contact for someone who is moving to a new job in your area. Our ‘Yarn in a Barn’ initiative is just one example of how FCN organises social gatherings, but the options really are limitless!
4. Fly the flag in your local community
Wear your FCN badge, attend community events, connect with your parish clerk and GP surgery, write an article for your village magazine, make sure there are some FCN cards in your community hall…all these (and more) help to raise the profile of FCN. We welcome suggestions for how you might generate publicity and awareness for FCN in your local area.
5. Connect with local companies, organisations and groups and let them know about FCN’s work
You may have links with your local vets, agricultural merchants, Young Farmers’ Clubs, livestock markets etc. – find a point of contact and keep them updated about FCN’s work from time to time along with a stock of FCN helpline cards. You may find they would be willing to include FCN’s contact details in their newsletters or make literature available in stores and offices.
A video trailer about FCN, which organisations may be willing to circulate or include in presentations, is available here: https://youtu.be/NWKQ55ODzSg
6. Organise a fundraiser
A quiz night, auction, cake sale etc. – these are great opportunities to socialise, have fun and also to raise funds for FCN. Funds raised for FCN contribute to all sorts of things – from operating our helpline and supporting our local volunteer caseworkers, to helping to drive research to better understand farmers’ lived experiences and improve support available. Learn more about fundraising for FCN here: https://fcn.org.uk/fundraising/
7. Deliver a training session to other FCN volunteers on a subject you have knowledge on
If you have specialist knowledge of a particular subject relevant to FCN’s work and would like to support our ongoing training programme, we would be keen to hear from you. We can work with you to create a webinar on your area of expertise which can be delivered to the FCN network over Zoom. Your session can also be recorded and uploaded to FCN’s YouTube account.
8. Help de-mystify technology and bureaucracy
Some farmers can get in a muddle with IT or form filling. Whilst we can’t give advice or take responsibility for official documents, we can help someone with the process. This could involve sitting with them while they fill out the forms or helping them to understand what certain questions or information means.
9. Make a video
We love to hear from volunteers about what motivates them in their work with FCN, or how they look after their own wellbeing. If you would like to make a short video for social media or write an article for the FCN website, please email Alex on email@example.com.
10. Help out at a local show or event
It might be a county show, local ploughing match or a livestock market – we always appreciate help in representing FCN. Helping to set up a gazebo and stand is always appreciated, though often we find attending a show, walking around the different exhibitors, and letting people know about FCN/handing out FCN literature ensures our name gets out there. You can learn more about the shows we attend here: https://fcn.org.uk/where-to-find-fcn/
If you’re interested in learning more about volunteering with FCN, visit our website: https://fcn.org.uk/volunteering/