Rural Support, supporting agri-sector workers with their ‘Boots on the Ground’

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Rural Support, supporting agri-sector workers with their ‘Boots on the Ground’

Rural Support, supporting agri-sector workers with their ‘Boots on the Ground’

November 9, 2023 Victoria Ross

‘Boots on the Ground’

Rural Support provides a range of services for farmers and farming families across Northern Ireland including their support line, face to face mentoring, sourcing of information and advice, workshops, and training.

This year they have increased their collaboration with key stakeholders in the public, private and commercial sectors who deal with farmers on a day-to-day basis through their ‘Boots on the Ground’ scenario-based training.

This training programme has been developed to assist those who are dealing directly with the farmer and members of the farming family on a day-to-day basis, to know how to identify signs of poor mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Boots on the Ground tackles the topic of mental health and is an awareness training programme for all employees in the agri-sector. Through scenario-based discussions, employees will learn how to manage difficult situations on farm and be better prepared for when they have to deliver bad news. It helps participants to understand what they can do to help including appropriate signposting. This training equips the staff with the knowledge to best support their clients during difficult times. The training also provides support to employees who may be under stress and encourages the development of positive self-care routines and tools, as well as awareness of when to ask for help.

CEO Kevin Doherty commented on the training, “It is very encouraging to see those within the industry taking the steps to support our farming community with mental health & wellbeing as well as acknowledging the importance of looking after their own staff as well. It is not easy to go on to a farm in the normal course of your work and know how best to support the farmer when things are not going so well or there are mental stressors at play. This training provides tailored training in what to do and say, how to say it and how to refer into services such as Rural Support. As importantly it helps sector workers to take care of their own mental wellbeing as well so they can go about their working life with confidence and know how to leave the mental load at the door when they get home”.

So far this year Rural Support have delivered talks to Power NI, The UFU Policy Team, Thompsons Feed, DAERA Vets, Three Valley Vets and most recently the Armagh and Markethill NFU Agency.

If you would like to enquire about a ‘Boots on the Ground’ training session or find out more about the range of services and programmes available at Rural Support, go to the NI Farm Support hub at or telephone the Support Line on Freephone 0800 138 1678 available Mon-Fri 9am-9pm.


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