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‘Across the Hedgerow’ initiative is a lifeline for the farming community

A new initiative called ‘Across the Hedgerow’ has been launched by Rural Support and the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) to provide older, vulnerable and/or isolated members of the farming community with a telephone listening support service.

Across the Hedgerow is a completely FREE CONFIDENTIAL SERVICE to provide vulnerable, elderly and isolated members of the rural community with listening support and companionship via telephone.

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The AIM of this project is to help reduce feelings of isolation and improve the mental wellbeing of both the client and the volunteer. Rural Support will co-ordinate the matching of Across the Hedgerow clients to a suitable person, and they will make contact as often as the person needs to feel safer and more content during this crisis.

Zita McNaugher, YFCU President stated: “Members of the Young Farmers’ Executive Committee have volunteered to take part in this new initiative with Rural Support.

“We are delighted to be involved and play a part in supporting rural communities during this uncertain time.

“We are looking forward to having a chat with anyone that feels vulnerable, lonely or isolated during this time and hopefully our members can provide a listening ear and maybe even brighten up someone’s day.”

Speaking about the new project, Veronica Morris, Chief Executive of Rural Support said: “Our helpline has seen a marked increase in calls since the escalation of the Covid 19 situation and more and more of those are from vulnerable and older members of the rural community who are isolated and afraid. In order to really help these people navigate what is the new normal for the foreseeable future, the ‘Across the Hedgerow’ project, in collaboration with the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster, will provide our most vulnerable people with extra human connection on a regular basis, via the phone, to help lift their spirits and bring some happiness during this uncertain time.”

“Traditionally older and vulnerable people can be in the hard to reach category so this project will help Rural Support to identify people most in need ensuring they are getting the help they need to protect their mental health and well-being, as well as connecting them to the right services if they need it.

“It will also provide a small bit of respite and comfort to their loved ones knowing that there will be someone else checking in on them and providing additional care and a listening ear at this time of uncertainty and fear.”

If you or someone you know would like to avail of this free confidential service, please call our helpline today on 0800 138 1678 and one of our trained volunteers would be happy to help you.

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