Announcement: Rural Support seeks Farm Business Mentors

To assist in the delivery of its aims and objectives through a number of programmes and other emerging projects, Rural Support wishes to expand its register of associates (Farm Business Mentors) who have the necessary agri-business expertise to provide guidance and support to clients wishing to make changes to their farm business or who are experiencing financial pressures which are impacting their mental well-being so as to promote positive mental health.


Essential key skills, knowledge and experience- Rural Support Farm Business Mentor

  • Strong agricultural advisory/consulting experience, with a minimum of five years relevant experience
  • Financial/ farm business management experience and an understanding of financial management, in a farm business context
  • Knowledge of rural stress issues and the impacts of stress
  • Able to demonstrate empathy for farming and rural communities
  • Willingness to promote positive mental health and wellbeing among target groups
  • Able to demonstrate empathy and understanding of mental health issues
  • An excellent understanding of the current technical, economic, and social issues facing farming families
  • Experience of one to one or group mentoring
  • Excellent interpersonal and group communication skills
  • A high level of written and verbal communication, including experience of using IT packages such as MS Office, internet and e-mail. – Applicants must have access to a computer
  • Ability to market and promote the programme to potential applicants
  • Confidentiality in handling personal and sensitive information
  • Flexibility in terms of working hours and emerging needs of clients



  • A 3rd level qualification in Agriculture, Finance or a related subject
  • Debt Management experience
  • Experience in the provision of technical farm business management support including regulatory requirements
  • Received or willingness to undertake training in the area of mental health such as, Mental Health First Aid, ASIST
  • Knowledge/ understanding of animal welfare, bovine T.B.
  • Experience in group facilitation/ chairing meetings

The closing date for receipt of applications is 5pm on Friday 17th August 2018. ***Update- this deadline has been extended to 5pm on Friday 24th August 2018***

For further details and an application form please email deborah@ruralsupport.org.uk or telephone 028 8676 0040.

Former UFU President Endorses Rural Support

Former President of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, Barclay Bell has given his backing to the Rural Support Helpline, which has recently changed its number to a Freephone service.


The UFU has had a long-standing relationship with Rural Support since the charity’s establishment in 2002.  The UFU President explains that the Rural Support services, particularly the Helpline support, is needed now, more than ever:


“Rural Support provides us within the farming community, with an invaluable service.  They have a team of trained and dedicated volunteers who listen to and assist farmers and farming families with a range of issues such as financial pressures, physical and mental health concerns and succession planning issues” said Mr. Bell.


“These last few months have been very difficult for farmers with the prolonged wet weather, issues with fodder supplies and the pressure on farmers to feed their livestock. Rural Support is available to provide technical and emotional guidance and support.  The gateway to access all of Rural Support’s services is through their Helpline, which has recently changed its number to 0800 138 1678.  This number is a Freephone number which makes it much more accessible to everybody within the farming community.  I would encourage anyone who feels they are struggling or needs assistance to contact the Rural Support Helpline or visit ruralsupport.org.uk or on Twitter and Facebook @RuralSupport,” says the former UFU president.


Rural Support Chief Executive, Jude McCann commented, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the UFU President for all of his support during his two years in office.  Barclay has been a tremendous ambassador for the farming community during his term as UFU President and has been extremely supportive of our work here in Rural Support.  I wish him continued success in his future endeavours.”


To speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rural Support Helpline on 0800 138 1678.  Calls are free from all UK landlines and mobile numbers.  The Helpline is available 9am – 9pm, Monday – Friday (Voicemail and Support options available at all other times) or visit www.ruralsupport.org.uk

Call to Agri-Producers to Share Christmas Cheer and Support Hamper Scheme

Farming and rural charity, Rural Support, and local wind energy company, Simple Power, are launching their fifth annual ‘Christmas Hamper Scheme’ aimed at helping farming and rural families in need this festive season.

Rural Support and Simple Power are encouraging local food and drink producers to lend a helping hand, by kindly donating suitable hamper items and making a difference this Christmas. With this support, the team hope to be able to match last year’s total of 120 hampers and ensure the hampers are packed with treats and local goods.

Rural Support’s Chief Executive, Jude McCann, said “This past few months has been especially difficult for Northern Ireland’s rural and farming community with intense pressure on farmers due to prolonged wet weather, floods in the north west and challenges relating to having enough fodder for the winter ahead. Therefore, our Christmas Hamper Scheme aims to connect in with farmers and remind everyone that Rural Support is here to help when the stress becomes too much.

“Last year, we were delighted with the response to the initiative, which saw around 120 hampers delivered to families in need and this would not have been possible without the incredibly generous support from our local agri-producers.

“With even more families facing difficulties after this tough year, we are calling on the many successful and vibrant local food and drink producers and suppliers to get in touch with us and make a contribution. We would appeal to local food and drink businesses to help support us in this vital scheme by kindly donating to the appeal. You can make a huge difference to a rural family in need this Christmas.”

To get involved in the Rural Support ‘Christmas Hamper Scheme’, in partnership with Simple Power, call 028 8676 0040 or email: Kerri@ruralsupport.org.uk.

Since 2002, Rural Support has been helping farming and rural families across Northern Ireland on a wide range of issues from finance and debt issues, succession planning concerns, physical and mental health issues, farming paperwork, technical and enterprise issues. If you do require assistance or are experiencing a challenging period, you are encouraged to contact Rural Support as early as possible so that options can be explored.

Simple Power has worked with Rural Support on campaigns for over four years to raise awareness of the importance of health and wellbeing in rural communities and farming families. Simple Power works in partnership with farmers across Northern Ireland and is committed to an on-going partnership with the local charity, providing financial support alongside awareness-raising and fundraising activities and initiatives such as the Christmas Hamper Scheme.

Simple Power Chief Executive, Philip Rainey, commented, “We are delighted to launch our Christmas Hamper Scheme in partnership with Rural Support for the fifth year, and we hope that it continues to be a great festive success. Last year, we saw the generosity of local agri-producers that enabled us to deliver hampers throughout Northern Ireland and spread plenty of Christmas cheer. It would be great for even more agri-food companies to share their produce with those in need to make this Christmas a special time for everyone.”

Save the Date of a Business Planning Seminar

A number of seminars focusing on areas impacting on farm businesses have been organised by CAFRE in partnership with Rural Support to be delivered throughout Northern Ireland over the coming months starting on 28 November at Greenmount Campus, CAFRE. Seminars will be delivered by industry professionals from local Accountancy and Law firms.

For further information contact Rural Support on 028 8676 0040 or visit www.cafre.ac.uk.