Successful AGM raises £13,000 for LRSN 16 Nov
To celebrate a successful year, 130 LRSN volunteers, staff, supporters and friends gathered at the Epic Centre, Lincolnshire Showground on Monday 29 October. Proceedings were opened and orchestrated by LRSN supporter, agronomist and MC-extraordinaire, Sean Sparling.
Chairman, Meryl Ward welcomed everyone to the event, in particular guest speaker Matt Caldicott, deputy chief officer for the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs and Lincolnshire’s High Sherriff, Ian Walter who later conducted the charity auction, dressed in full ceremonial dress.
In her address, Mrs Ward spoke about LRSN’s work over the past year. She said:
“The combined work of our staff and volunteers means that we have been able to help 140 rural and farming families, manage the helpline and deliver nearly 1000 healthcare checks in clinics at Louth and Newark Livestock Markets and Spalding Auction. Thank you to them all for helping us fulfil our values of listening, caring and serving others.”
Gracing the foyer at the Epic Centre was a Massey Ferguson tractor, kindly lent by Peacock and Binnington. Throughout the summer, a “wrapped” tractor bearing LRSN’s logo and helpline number has toured agricultural shows and events to promote the charity’s work.
Meryl Ward said: “LRSN owes Peacock and Binnington directors and staff a huge debt of gratitude for all their hard work during the year to help raise our profile in the rural community.”
Speaking about the announcement of a new Government Minister for suicide prevention, Mrs Ward spoke of the increasing need for mental health support for our rural community. She added:
“Our core service of ‘walking with people and offering a listening ear’ is a great first step to help. However, the combination of mental health coupled with the complex family and business dynamics that are part of agricultural life are both challenging and potentially devastating.
“We have concerns around the increasing severity of some cases, and the levels of expertise required to navigate cases effectively, and we know we need to do so much more to plug the gaps left by the statutory services… Our business plan looks to recruit mental health expertise throughout the organisation including consideration of a staff caseworker with psychiatric experience.”
Project manager, Alison Twiddy presented her report to the AGM in which she mentioned two important and on-going projects: Rural Plus and the Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme. She said:
“Our work and collaboration with YFC on their Rural Plus programme led to us successfully delivering mental health workshops to 7 clubs within the county with more planned for the next year.
“And our work as Delivery Partner for HRH Prince Charles’ Farm Resilience Programme brings us new opportunities to add value to our work, by upskilling and facilitating 20 small to medium farm livestock businesses to build their resilience for the future and benefit of their family farms including a programme of skills workshops and one to one farm visits planned throughout 2019 to Spring 2020.”
Guest speaker, Matt Caldicott also spoke about partnerships, remembering his first discussions with LRSN on Rural Plus. He recalled seeing the film “First Man” recently and said: “I was quite surprised by how the film made me reflect for a good few days afterwards. One of the things I took away was just how many things had to be overcome in order to realise the dream, the ambition to conquer our nearest planetary neighbour pushed technology and the team to the absolute limits. The story encapsulates so much of our human potential, and what can be achieved when a common goal draws people into partnership.”
Following the formal elements, the evening was rounded off with the annual Charity Auction: 24 lots raised more than £8000 which together with donations and the evening’s raffle, made the fantastic total of £13,145 raised on the night.
Auction lots included a day’s pheasant shooting, a helicopter trip, two glorious garden planters, a trip to the Tower of London, tea with the House of Lords Chief Whip, a morning with Lincolnshire Police and holidays in the Lake District and North Norfolk.
LRSN was also pleased to launch two new ways of donating to raise funds for its work. A new JustGiving number and donations through Amazon Smile will help the organisation to continue to help those in Lincolnshire’s rural community experiencing problems.
You can find out more about the work of LRSN at www.lrsn.co.uk and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lincsruralsupportnetwork/