Agriculture Wellbeing Hub

Partnering to tackle poor mental health, rural isolation, and wellbeing in UK agriculture

How we bought together a collective group of people to facilitate the sharing of information, raising awareness of the support that is available to everyone, and promoting positive actions through a model of collaboration and support.

The Problem

We are living through a period of profound change.  Uncertainties bought about by a once in a generation to farming policy, coupled with the multitude of inherent challenges farming people face such as climate change, supply chain disruption and labour shortages.  For farming people – farmers, farm workers, contractors, and their households – their health and wellbeing are inextricably linked to the business of farming. The challenging they face is often exasperated by the isolated conditions characterised by long working hours.

Farming people work in a sector with a rate of accidents 20 times higher than the all-industry rate. In addition, farmers and farm workers can often face physical health challenges: musculoskeletal injury, for example, is over three times the rate for all industries. More than one farmer a week takes their own life. Less visible are high rates of mental ill-health and poor quality of life.

“11,000 farmers and farm workers sustain serious injury in the workplace annually in the UK, and there are 12,000 more suffering with work-related ill- health”.

Stephanie Berkeley, Manager – Farm Safety Foundation, and Hub member

To help raise awareness about the issues we used a knowledge exchange approach to bring different businesses together from across the food and farming industry to reimagine how we could all work together to do more.

The Solution

Starting with identifying the different businesses who directly reach farmers we facilitated bringing together some UK retailers and agriculture mental health charities, to form a collaborative knowledge generating and exchange business hub who would meet during the year.

Through the Hub we created a series of activities to support hub members to have greater impact at raising awareness of the support that is available to people, and to train more people to recognise the signs of someone who might be struggling with poor mental health.  Early intervention is one of the best approaches to tackling poor mental health, preventing escalation to suicidal ideation and workplace injuries in farming.

Live webinars

Through a series of on-line webinars, we hosted discussions and conversations with farmers to help raise awareness of the different support that is available to them throughout the UK, and what signs to look out for if they see someone who is struggling with their mental health.

These in-conversation webinars were shared on across social media platforms to reach more people.

Training and upskilling

The hub enabled different members to connect with each other and to access the different training and expertise that are available from each other’s businesses.  Retailers and certification bodies worked closely with the different charities to host mental health training and upskilling sessions with members of their teams and supply chains.  DPJ and Farm Safety Foundation hosted mental health first aid training with teams at Coop and some of their suppliers.  RABI hosted a mental health training program with the team at Red Tractor and some of their certification assessors.

Supporting businesses wellbeing strategies

Our facilitated hub meetings enabled members in a helpful and collaborative environment to disseminate the research that is shared, and to identify different approaches to utilising this information to build into their own businesses people wellbeing strategies.  This directly supports their own team’s wellbeing, and the farming communities and supply chains that they interact with.

Knowledge sharing

We focused using research and data to understand the issues, experiences, and challenges, to help us identify support mechanisms and activities that will meet the mental health and wellbeing needs of men and women across all generations in agriculture.

Networking

The ongoing dialogue between Hub members throughout the year, and the structured facilitated approaches we take to Hub meetings, has enabled us to create a community of people who are willing to bring new ideas to the table that inspires positive action to drive change across the supply chain.

Community led campaigning and advocacy

Through the Hub we have been able to support the campaigning efforts of the agriculture mental health charities sharing content across hub members social channels to raise awareness about events, support directories that are available and to making it easier for referrals of any farming person needing support.  We use our knowledge and experience to give a voice to farming people.

“The Agriculture Wellbeing hub has seen consistent growth since it was established in 2019. While as charities were already proactively collaborating, there is much to be done to increase awareness and uptake of their amazing support offer. Our aim of bringing together these charities with the food supply chain, who have direct contact with those farmers and growers in need, is to ensure people are aware of, and can seek the appropriate help, before they reach crisis point. By acting in this collaborative way, we are also able to help support those who meet struggling people, by helping them to contact the appropriate specialist support.”.

Suzy Deely, Head of Partnerships, RABI and Hub member.

The Impact

By focusing our work on collaboration, knowledge generating and exchange, we have been able to define solutions that are robust and scalable.

The Hub has now grown to 20 members containing all UK major retailers, leading agriculture mental health charities, certification bodies, and industry bodies.  This growth largely came from people wanting to be part of the hub.

Our activities are designed with people from across the farming community at its heart, we develop new ideas and better outcomes that work in recognition of the existing challenges, and opportunities to drive change, through our model of support.

A Model of support

We generated improved collaboration across the different Hub organisations, building a community of people who can find support in a quick and confidential way.

What they said

“I have worked with Caroline since the inception of the Hub in 2019, her enthusiasm and dedication to the project in hand is second to none. Her knowledge, contacts and sensitive approach to complex issues has helped kick start the Wellbeing Hub to help support farmers, growers, and the allied trade. I can always rely on Caroline to deliver what is asked for.”

Tess Howe, Head of Partnership and Membership, TIAH and Hub member.

Case Studies

How our work has helped others

WE’RE READY TO HAVE A CHAT

We deliver happiness by co-creating with you to deliver epic transformation that enables your people to flourish and your business to grow sustainably.

We help conscious businesses and people to feel appreciated, included and inspired.