Rural Support win prestigious Innovation Award

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Rural Support win prestigious Innovation Award

Rural Support win prestigious Innovation Award

March 28, 2024 Victoria Ross

At the recent Northern Ireland Helplines Awareness Day event, Rural Support were delighted to be awarded the Brendan Bonner Innovation Award, which recognises innovation and outstanding achievement within one of its helpline network’s members. Rural Support received this award for their ‘Boots on the Ground’ mental health awareness training programme which has also recently received CPD accreditation.

Gillian Reid, Head of Farm Support at Rural Support said “It is an honour to receive this award from Helplines NI for recognition of the support we provide to the agricultural community through our ‘Boots on the Ground’ mental health awareness training programme. Last year, our Support Line saw an increase of calls by 48% from agri-sector employees and this has been increasing month on month. This training programme has had a meaningful impact across the sector, and it strengthens our commitment to supporting farmers and farm families across Northern Ireland.”

Boots on the Ground was initially established due to many agri-sector employees feeling they were the farmer’s confidante and having unprecedented conversations – particularly around mental health – and these were having an impact, both on the farmer and the agri-employee. This training has been specifically designed for those dealing directly with farm families to include:

  • Understanding mental health and the factors causing stress within the farming community,
  • Recognising signs of poor mental health,
  • Knowing how to engage supportively with someone experiencing stress,
  • Knowing the sources of help available and how to access these,
  • Increasing awareness of employee’s wellbeing and being able to apply self-care tools.

This innovative and pioneering programme has grown from strength to strength and has been delivered to various industry bodies across Northern Ireland including Power NI, Ulster Bank, Thompsons Feed and NFU Mutual to name but a few. Furthermore, Boots on the Ground has recently received CPD accreditation which means it has been assessed to the highest standard, reassuring participants of the high quality of content and delivery which will enhance their professional skills and abilities.

If you would like to enquire about a ‘Boots on the Ground’ training session for your organisation, please contact our Farm Support Team by emailing or telephone the office on 028 8676 0040.

You can also find out more about the wide range of services and programmes available at Rural Support by visiting the NI Farm Support hub at or telephone their Support Line on Freephone 0800 138 1678 available Mon-Fri 9am-9pm.


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