As part of our Diamond Anniversary celebrations we will be choosing a charity each month whose work we admire and sharing with you who they are, who they help and what they do.
We have two chosen charities, but with very close links, for February which are RSABI (The Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution) and RABI (The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution). As we are have two chosen charities this month, we will split the interviews with them over two Insights. First up is RSABI
RSABI is a long standing charity that provides financial and practical support and friendship to over 600 individuals and their families across a range of occupations with the common theme of working on the land in Scotland. Nina Clancy is CEO at the charity and here she tells us about their work.
Can you please give us a brief overview of what your charity does and who it supports?
RSABI supports people from Scottish agriculture emotionally, practically and financially in times of need. The service is available to those previously and currently involved in farming, crofting and occupations involved in agriculture in Scotland. This is a comprehensive service to clients who are experiencing difficult times to enable them to move forward.
Emotional support is available through our helpline, case officers and volunteers, all of whom are mental health first aid trained. We listen, keep people safe and access professional support when required. Our helpline is open from 7am to 11pm 365 days of the year and offers a call out service for the lonely and vulnerable.
RSABI can access practical support such as, but not limited to, welfare benefits, business reviews, debt signposting, counselling and mediation services. We are happy to liaise with statutory agencies when required.
Our financial support can be for essential items including food, heating, counselling, disability aids, funerals, retraining and items for the home. Business costs will be considered to help overcome a short term crisis. All requests will be considered.
Where are you based?
Our main office is just outside Edinburgh but the majority of our staff and volunteers work from home covering the whole of Scotland
How much have you been impacted by Covid-19?
Fortunately, the agricultural sector hasn’t been majorly affected to the lengths that some industries have, however, our helpline call out service has come into its own. There are around 200 clients getting a daily, weekly or monthly call. Pre Covid 19, the number would have been around 50. Many of these clients are lonely, vulnerable or struggling with their physical or mental health.
We are still managing to provide effective support to people and up until recently have seen 25-30 new clients each month. The combination of practical, emotional and financial support really helps people move on with their lives.
We did have to cancel our big annual fundraising event The Great Glen Challenge in 2020 and again for 2021. This has meant a reduction in our fundraising of around £100,000.
What are your future hopes and aims for your charity?
Our aim is to be known by everyone in the Scottish agricultural industry so that when life becomes difficult for someone, they know who to reach out to for support and not struggle alone.
Describe the most memorable / funniest moment / most unusual fund raising activity during a sponsor event?
There have been some memorable fundraising events, #run1000 has been incredible, the press up challenge and of course our flagship event the Great Glen Challenge. But we have had people swim the Forth of Firth, renovate vintage tractors, cycle around Scotland, effectively walk to their conference, complete ploughathons and tractor rallies. The Farming is a Funny Business books compiled by Andrew and John Arbuckle are very funny. RSABI is so privileged to have support from across the agricultural community.
How can people find out more about your work?
Website – https://rsabi.org.uk/Home-Page
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RSABI.ORG/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/rsabi_/
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/rsabi/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/RSABI