‘Tis The Season as Local Agri-Producers Urged to Support Christmas Hamper Scheme

Philip Rainey, Chief Executive of Simple & Jude McCann, Chief Executive of Rural Support launching the Christmas Hamper Scheme

Farming and rural charity, Rural Support, and local wind energy company, Simple Power, are teaming up again this year to launch the charity’s largest ‘Christmas Hamper Scheme’ aimed at helping farming and rural families in need this festive season.

With a successful Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink coming to an end shortly, Rural Support and Simple Power are encouraging local producers to finish the year on a high and come together to provide hard-hit families in the community with a lift and make a difference this Christmas.

Local food and drink producers and suppliers are being called upon to kindly donate suitable items for the hampers. With this support, the team hope to be able to exceed last year’s total of approximately 100 hampers and make 2016 a record-breaking year. Rural Support’s Chief Executive, Jude McCann, said “This year has been particularly tough for Northern Ireland’s rural and farming community with the agricultural downturn having an impact on commodity prices. We expect even more families to be affected by economic issues around this time of year and our Christmas Hamper Scheme aims to take the pressure off and make life easier for these families.

“Last year, we were delighted with the response to the initiative, which saw around 100 hampers delivered to families in need and this would not have been possible without the generous support from our local agri-producers.

“With even more families in crisis after a difficult 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 aim to build on the Hamper Scheme’s success to date and deliver over 120 hampers to families in need this Christmas. 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: melissa@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 three 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 fourth Christmas Hamper Scheme in partnership with Rural Support, and we hope that it is going to be our largest scheme to date. Last year, we saw the generosity of local agri-producers that enabled us to deliver hampers throughout Northern Ireland and provide a little Christmas cheer. This scheme is particularly poignant as it takes place during Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink and it would be great for agri-food companies to share their success with those in need to make this a special Christmas for everyone.”