Working families need more help

Alicia Chivers, CEO of RABI
Alicia Chivers, CEO of RABI

I have written before about the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I.), the charity that gives financial support to farming families in need.

Funds are raised in many different ways, from straight forward donations from individuals and businesses, to legacies and fund-raising activities such as sponsored runs, cream teas and carol services.

Last year saw a huge 47 per cent rise in the amount R.A.B.I. paid to working farmers, farmworkers and their dependents compared to 2017.

Extreme weather, illness, accidents, family breakdown, animal disease, bereavement and cash flow problems are just some of the reasons why working people approach the charity for help.

Grants of £437,825 were given to 215 working families in 2018, a significant increase on 2017’s figure of £297,000.

In addition to helping working families, the charity assists with home help costs or contributing towards care home top up fees, and owns two residential care homes of its own. And support is offered to farming people of all ages with one off and regular grants.

Overall, the charity paid out around £2.22 million to 1,248 individuals and families in financial need in England and Wales during 2018.

Alicia Chivers, CEO of R.A.B.I., said: “Across the board, the amount we paid out last year increased significantly. Historically, R.A.B.I. has probably been best known for helping the elderly, sick and disabled, but year on year we are being asked to do much more to support working families and we fully expect that trend to continue.

“2018 was a particularly difficult year for many in farming, with adverse weather a contributing factor. Lots of working families struggled to recover from the effects of the ‘Beast from the East’ in the spring because they were subsequently hit by a prolonged and testing summer drought.

“Other problems about which we were made aware include remittingly low incomes, debt, illness, evictions and difficulties with RPA Basic Payments.”

Ms Chivers encouraged individuals and families in farming to contact R.A.B.I via the freephone helpline 0808 281 9490 before they find themselves in desperate circumstances.