Western Morning News (Saturday)

Insurer pledges further support for campaign

- ATHWENNA IRONS

athwenna.irons@reachplc.com

AMENTAL health campaign run by Cornwall’s young farmers has won financial backing for a further three years.

At a time when friendship and support is needed more than ever due to the coronaviru­s pandemic, combined with increased pressures on farmers and rural communitie­s, NFU Mutual has extended its associatio­n with the Cornwall Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFC).

Sponsorshi­p from the leading rural insurer will help Cornwall YFC to continue its ‘My Mind Matters’ campaign, as well as social events, training and community work.

Ben Cavill, county chairman of Cornwall YFC and founder of the My Mind Matters initiative, which launched in October 2019, said: “In a year that has seen increased demand on farmers and all the challenges that living and working through a global pandemic has brought, combined with the pressures that they can face day-to-day, it is essential that people consider their own and each other’s mental health.

“It is important to me to create a culture in farming that promotes positive mental health and starting this with young farmers now will hopefully help them throughout their careers in the industry. It’s ok not to be ok and I want to start conversati­ons to remove the stigma.”

In addition to the My Mind Matters campaign, NFU Mutual’s support will allow Cornwall YFC to continue to offer a wide range of benefits to its members, aged between 10 and 26, including team building, training and skills, community and conservati­on work, competitio­ns and social events.

The organisati­on’s mental health drive includes ‘signs and symptoms’ awareness sessions for all 20 clubs in the county and mental health first aid training for at least one member of each club.

It comes as research has shown that the challenges of 2020 have had a significan­t impact on the rural community. A customer survey by NFU Mutual in December 2020, working with Samaritans, found that more people are feeling stressed (+7%), anxious (+3%) and lonely (+2%) than earlier in the pandemic, in June 2020.

Mr Cavill added: “You don’t have to be a young farmer to be part of YFC. We support young people from all background­s. We have 20 clubs across Cornwall offering you the chance to learn new skills, have new experience­s, and meet new people,

Cornwall YFC county chairman, Ben Cavill, launched the ‘My Mind Matters’ campaign in October 2019 and we are committed to continuing to offer this in whatever way possible over the coming year.”

Roz Hills, South West regional manager for NFU Mutual, said: “The support that Cornwall YFC offers its members is perhaps more important than ever. As well as the usual services and social events, the focus on mental health is vital and it is refreshing to see young people breaking down barriers and starting what can be difficult conversati­ons. We’re pleased to be supporting the next generation of farmers and rural workers.”

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