Plough On – Focus on Supporting the Older Farmer at Balmoral
Rural Support turned its attention to the needs of the older farmer at the Balmoral Show this year.
The launch of the 5-year Plough On project which took place at the show on Wednesday shone a light on practical ways to support older male farmers who can often experience loneliness and isolation, which can impact on their health and wellbeing.
The project, which was launched by DAERA Minister Edwin Poots, aims to tackle these very real challenges for our farming families and develop social opportunities for older members and improve mental and physical health.
Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, activities will include a range of educational, learning and reminiscence opportunities – events, projects, and outings – encouraging older men to connect on areas of shared interest such as farming, rural heritage and history. The project will be delivered in 17 rural communities across 4 HSC Trust areas.
Head of Social Farming and Innovation, Dr. Aoibeann Walsh commented “The Plough On project will provide vital social connections and each group will be supported at a local level to design how the project develops for them. We are very grateful to the National Lottery Community Fund for supporting this key development in Rural Support’s delivery for the farming community across all life stages”.
Speaking at the launch DAERA Minister Poots, said “I am delighted to launch the Plough On project to help older male farmers connect with their peers and get out and about, especially after the increased isolation that Covid19 brought. It is excellent to see a project of this sort that delivers a practical way to tackle isolation in rural areas especially for our older farming population”.
Presenting the funding cheque at the official launch, Judith McCann Funding Officer at the National Lottery’s Community Fund commented “insert quote”
Health Minister Robin Swann has also provided support for the project, noting, “The benefits of maintaining social connections on a person’s mental and physical health are more important than ever. The Plough On project provides a unique opportunity for our older farmers and I would encourage engagement in this excellent initiative”.
Plough On is recruiting participants in the following areas for groups commencing in October: Belcoo, Plumbridge, Kilrea, Glenarm, Lisnacree, and Kircubbin. If you are interested in taking part, or for more information about the Plough On project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call our office on 028 8676 0040.
To learn more about Rural Support’s range of services and programmes, all of which are free of charge, visit the Farm Support Hub on www.ruralsupport.org.uk. The team can also be contacted via the Support Line which is available 9am-9pm, Monday to Friday (voicemail and options available at all other times), call free on 0800 138 1678.