National charity The Farming Community Network (FCN) has teamed up with Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust (NFST) to launch a new scholarship – which will support the health and wellbeing of people in the farming community.

FCN Trustee Barbara Bray MBE (NSch 2017), who highlighted the new scholarship at the Balmoral Show in May 2024

The FCN / Len’s Light Nuffield Farming Scholarship will sponsor Nuffield Scholars focusing on topics that support people in farming and rural communities; help to address issues of loneliness and isolation; explore health inequalities in farming / rural communities; or encourage a positive mindset and help to build resilience.

It is hoped the findings and recommendations of this scholarship could help to create further support across the agricultural sector and generate important positive conversations, whilst also reducing stigma around mental health and wellbeing.

The Scholarship is inspired by Warwickshire farmers Andy and Lynda Eadon, who lost their son Len to suicide in January 2022.

They have since made it their mission to raise awareness of the challenges of mental health in rural and farming communities and to ensure that nobody feels alone.

Their national Len’s Light campaign has been raising funds for The Farming Community Network (FCN), Yellow Wellies and PAPYRUS – Prevention of Young Suicide.

Dr Jude McCann, Chief Executive Officer of The Farming Community Network (FCN), said: “We are delighted to have teamed up with Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust to provide this important opportunity to focus on health, wellbeing and resilience. We hope to highlight good practice in farming and shine a light on what helps people to stay positive and optimistic in their work and personal lives. We are grateful to Andy and Lynda Eadon for their ongoing support for the work of FCN and other vital charities.”

Rupert Alers-Hankey, Director, Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust, said: “Mental health and well-being is consistently cited as one of the biggest challenges facing our industry. FCN are well known for the support they offer the farming community in difficult times, and we are proud of the role that Jude McCann NSch and his own scholarship has played in its success. We hope that the FCN / Len’s Light Nuffield Farming Scholarship will help build further knowledge and pave the way for positive change in this area.”

Andy and Lynda Eadon said: “Since the tragic loss of our son Len in 2022 we have become passionate to engage, particularly with young people in the rural community.  Highlighting the importance of understanding their own mental health and the need to be honest, open and talk.

“We continually talk about ‘positive’ mental health to try to reduce the stigma that the words ‘mental health’ have.  No one in the rural community should feel alone and isolated and this new scholarship has the ability to shine a light brighter and wider on the complex issues that impact on everyone’s mental health.

“We would like to thank FCN and the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust for highlighting these issues and for acknowledging Len’s Light, and thus contributing to the legacy we are trying to leave in his name.”

More information about Nuffield Farming Scholarships can be found on the Trust’s website, and application forms can be submitted electronically here.

We welcome applications for this Scholarship from across the UK. Applications close 31st July 2024.

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