NEWS FROM THE FARMING COMMUNITY NETWORK
POVERTY IS THE MAIN SOURCE OF FCN’S CASES
An examination of FCN’s cases over the twelve months to March 2013 shows that financial difficulty and poverty are the main causes of calls for support.
It is becoming clear that the appalling weather during 2012 and the Spring of 2013 has left many farms facing an unprecedented level of debt which, in may cases, is simply unsustainable.
“With rising numbers of farming families experiencing financial difficulties and facing the effects of prolonged stress and physical and mental exhaustion, FCN has been of great comfort to many hundreds of farming families” explained FCN’s Chief Executive, Charles W. Smith, at the charity’s Annual General Meeting.
By forging closer links with the DEFRA bovine TB Unit and Animal Health, FCN volunteers have been able to offer significant benefits in terms of service. Sadly, concerns over bovine TB continue to be on the increase with calls to the Helpline on this topic increasing at an alarming rate from both within and outside the endemic areas.
There has been a dramatic reduction in the volume of casework centred on the Single Payment Scheme; this is the result of significant improvement in the work of the Rural Payments Agency which administers the scheme.
During the year ended March 2013, FCN volunteers have been involved in almost 2,500 cases which, it is estimated, involve around 6,000 individuals.
Some 44% of all calls for support came via the Helpline with the remainder being referred directly to local FCN groups, often through local organisations.
In April of this year the number of calls to the Helpline increased five fold as a direct result of the prolonged, freezing Spring.
One third of the cases handled by FCN concerns individuals below the age of 45 and one in ten of all cases involves someone between 16 and 25.
Prior to its Annual General Meeting, FCN held its first national Harvest Festival Service.
With a congregation of more than 60 people – including the Bishop of Peterborough and the High Sheriff of Northamptonshire, Mr. James Shepherd-Cross, the address was given by Lord Curry of Kirkharle.
He made plain that, in the face of an increasing population; “We must ensure that we do all we can to produce food making the best use of resources at our disposal.” He went on to say that the compassionate and encouraging support provided by FCN volunteers was much appreciated by the farming community.
Statistics covering the work of FCN can be found at
Click on Report and Accounts.