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How the RABI & FCN have helped the farming community in Somerset

Flooding on the Somerset Levels in 2014 

In February 2014 the Somerset Levels experienced some of the toughest weather conditions which effected their stock and farming effected by the flooding for months following. Mole Valley Farmers were able to support the efforts of the NFU and farming charitites RABI FCN to nationally raise awareness of what was happening.

And so one year on . . . . . and  support from the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I.) and the Farming Community Network (FCN) for Somerset farmers who were affected by last year’s flooding remains strong.  The two charities have worked closely together during the past year to provide pastoral support, practical help and domestic grants.

FCN visited more than 60 farmers on the Levels assessing need for forage and straw and kept in touch with many of them over the months, while still continuing to work with farmers over the whole of Somerset.  It was the busiest year since FCN began to operate in Somerset twenty years ago in 1995, with 59 new cases and 52 continuing cases. 

The national Helpline dealt with 28 stress related cases in Somerset and 26 requests for information.

FCN held four ‘Farmers Suppers’ in different flooded areas which gave local farmers a chance to get together socially and talk about their experiences in a relaxed atmosphere.  A Plough Sunday service was held at Middlezoy in January which looked back on a very difficult year but also looked forward in a positive way.

At the beginning of February the three Farming Help charities – RABI, FCN and the Addington Fund - held a ‘Fit for Farming Breakfast’ at Sedgemoor market.  The aim was to show professional people, local agencies and organisations how we might be able to help their clients.  There were presentations from the Farming Help charities and a talk from Dr. Andrew Tressider whose aim is to encourage farmers to see their GP before their mental and physical health deteriorates.  We also used this event to campaign for funding for a public access defibrillator at Sedgemoor market.

In 2014, R.A.B.I. gave out £68,000 to twenty four farming families in Somerset who had been affected by flooding in addition to distributing domestic grants to others farms.  Pam Wills, the regional manager, worked tirelessly with others in February to ensure that farmers needing forage would be supplied quickly and efficiently.

Later co-ordination for this was taken on by Somerset County Council and FWAG.

Some of you may know Suzie Paton, the regional R.A.B.I. welfare officer.  She has helped so many farming families in a very kind and gentle way.  Her area is now being split so that she will now work in north and east Somerset, Cathy Denslow will be looking after Exmoor, Taunton and South Somerset.

If you would like further information about FCN or R.A.B.I. please contact:

Pam Wills, South West Regional Manager R.A.B.I.
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 07825 336224

Suzie Wilkinson, co-ordinator of the FCN in Somerset : 
Tel: 01934 712128

FCN National Helpline:  0845 367 9990
Email: [email protected]


Source Details

Suzie Wilkinson, co-ordinator of the FCN in Somerset

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