In June, PAPYRUS proudly held its first stand at the renowned three-day Royal Cornwall Show. This opportunity arose from a collaborative effort between farm support services located in the South West, and local mental health charities.

We partnered with Pentreath, a local mental health charity that often signposts people to PAPYRUS services and resources, to create an engaging and supportive joint marquee. Our space featured interactive games, freebies, wellbeing activities, a relaxing area, valuable resources, refreshments, and even a dog water stop (anything to attract canines to our stand!).

Over the past year, PAPYRUS has worked closely with organisations such as FarmCornwall, LandtoSea, FCN, and RABI to support our farming community. Our HOPELINE247, which operates around the clock just like the farming industry, has been a vital part of this support. This collaborative effort began with the incredible campaign and fundraising event by Len’s Light last summer.

We’ve seen increasing engagement from farming families through our monthly stand at the cattle market, awareness-raising events, talks at Young Farmers’ clubs, and fundraising activities. During the Royal Cornwall Show, many young people, parents, carers, and grandparents sought our guidance and support literature. One particularly moving moment was when the mother of a young farmer who tragically died by suicide last year visited our stand. Her family has since raised funds and awareness for PAPYRUS and our farm support networks across the county and at Harper Adams University. Speaking with her was incredibly special and underscored the importance of our work.

Farmers are among the groups at higher risk of suicide, making our message of support crucial. On the second day of the show, PAPYRUS was invited to the RABI reception, which highlighted the numerous challenges facing the UK’s farming communities, including rising costs, thinning margins, and the phasing out of subsidies. The rural cost of living crisis adds further strain, and RABI’s Big Farming Survey has shown that stress cracks are beginning to appear.

In response to these growing pressures, RABI recently launched the “Empowering the Worth and Wellbeing of Farming People” campaign in Parliament, marking the start of a year-long series of activities that will culminate in the inaugural RABI Farming People’s Summit in March 2025. The Royal Cornwall Show reception brought together local parliamentarians, opinion formers, media, partner organisations, and other sector allies to discuss concerns and potential solutions, ensuring that the voices of farming people are heard and understood.

Following the reception, along with the overall three days of activities at the show, PAPYRUS has many avenues to pursue to strengthen the support network for our farming communities. We remain committed to ensuring that those in need know that help is available and that we are here to support them every step of the way.

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