Supporting the region’s farmers

Dumfries and Galloway Council is working with partners to highlight the work of the RSABI (formally known as the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution).

The RSABI is a unique Scottish charity which provides financial assistance, support and advice to people who have worked in Scottish land-based occupations and are now suffering hardship.

Every year RSABI helps hundreds of people with backgrounds in farming, crofting, forestry, horticulture, fish-farming, game keeping and rural estate work who, due to illness, disability, poverty or crisis, find that they are unable to cope.

Animal Health and Welfare Officers from the Council’s Trading Standards service have joined forces with officers from the Animal and Plant Health Agency, Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate and Social Work’s Adult Protection to provide this vital support.

Colin Smyth, Chair of the Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee said, “Land based employment such as agriculture and forestry is absolutely crucial to the rural economy of Dumfries and Galloway. Those working in those sectors are no different from others and they can often find themselves facing hardship for a whole host of reasons often beyond their control such as illness. However, the big difference is that in the case of rural poverty, this hardship can often go unnoticed. As a council we are committed to developing our region’s first ever antipoverty strategy and that means tackling hidden poverty in Dumfries and Galloway”

Welfare issues are often the first indicator that there are underlying problems on a farm, these may be financial or health related and may occur suddenly, due to a bereavement or ill health. This is when officers from the Council or Scottish Government are most likely to be called in to attend.

Nina Clancy, the Chief Executive of RSABI says, ‘I was delighted to be invited to talk to front line officers on the work of RSABI. Equipping regulatory officers with knowledge of the assistance and support that is available is a very important first step to providing help at the time that it is most needed. Regulators have a job to do but they don’t want their intervention to make matters worse.’

Further information on RSABI is available on their website http://www.rsabi.org.uk