Latest blog from Rural Action Derbyshire: by Joe Dugdale
Revd Alan Griggs is our Agricultural Chaplain, an ordained minister in the Church of England.
Revd Professor Stella Mills is a volunteer chaplain on the project and works closely with Alan.
The project is managed by RAD and Work Place Chaplaincy Derbyshire with funding from the Methodist Church.
The work has largely been active in the more rural and isolated areas of the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales. However, thanks to funding from the Methodist Church the project is now available to the farming community throughout Derbyshire.
Life as a farmer has become increasingly isolating. Not only are some of the farms themselves geographically isolated, but there are fewer people working with some farmers being the sole worker. In the north of the county livestock farming is the only option as the ground is no suitable for growing crops. It's a 24/7 way of life caring for the livestock, land, buildings and equipment to make sure everything is operating as it should and animal welfare is obviously high up the list of priorities. It takes only one thing to go wrong for potentially serious implications to take effect.
TB testing in cattle is an anxious time and very labour intensive. A negative result can have a devastating impact. Illness in the family can create significant problems. Financial difficulties can lead to stress and even the loss of the farm itself if not dealt with appropriately.
Farmers don't tend to have professional networks, they are generally private people who get on with the job.
What we do
We listen. Sometimes that's all we do, other times we can provide more practical support or referrals to other organisations such as RABI and FCN. What is important is that any member of the farming community in Derbyshire can contact our team and get some support. Alan or Stella can speak to them on the phone, visit them at their farm/home or meet up with them for a chat at the market in Bakewell. From then a plan can be agreed as to what the next step is.
The Chaplain to young farmers offers pastoral and practical support as part of the wider work of the Derbyshire Agricultural Chaplaincy; supporting young farmers and their families and identifying and engaging with the issues affecting young farmers.
The Chaplain works closely with other farming support charities and the rural church in offering holistic support to young farmers in Derbyshire.
With a sound knowledge of the farming industry and a proven track record of providing practical, emotional and spiritual support to individuals in crisis, this service is well placed to provide a valuable service throughout Derbyshire.
Emily Brailsford is the Chaplain to young farmers. Emily lives with her husband and three children in Matlock and both her and her husband’s families have lived and farmed in Derbyshire for the last few hundred years.
“What is a Chaplain to young farmers?”
The chaplaincy helps agricultural families through difficult situations, whatever they might be.
Emily is in post to work specifically with the younger farming community, to listen to individual need or collective issues especially from a faith perspective. She works closely with the Young Farmers Clubs in Derbyshire and travels around to various services, events and shows to make connections and spread the word about her work.
If you are a young person in the agricultural sector and feel you would benefit from a friendly ear, then please get in touch with Emily. She is very easy to talk to and her service is confidential.
Being of the younger generation (under 40!), social media is a key component of getting the message across as well as being a tool for people to connect with her.