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NFU Mutual funds will support our frontline work

LRSN has been nominated by three of the county’s NFU Mutual agencies to receive funding from the NFU Mutual Agency Giving Fund. The £1 million fund is part of a £32 million support package set up this spring to help local, frontline charities affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

NFU Mutual agencies at Spalding, Louth and the jointly run Bourne, Boston and Sleaford agencies have put forward LRSN as their chosen local charity to receive a portion of the Agency Giving Fund allocated by the rural insurer to help its members and communities cope with the unfolding situation and build resilience for the future.

“We are so grateful to the three NFU Mutual agencies for nominating us for these funds, which will enable us to employ our caseworker, Lea Schofield for an extra day a week from September this year until April 2021,”says LRSN’s chairman, Meryl Ward.

“LRSN has seen a marked increase in the number of cases and helpline calls we are receiving since the onset of the coronavirus crisis. We are currently helping 13 new cases where the issues our clients face are entirely related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“As well as the stress and uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 crisis and the practical problems posed by social distancing and the lockdown measures, an additional pressure faced by many is the need to interpret legislation associated with Covid-19. This is an added aspect of Lea Schofield’s job; she has taken on the interpretation and delivery of the new Government coronavirus business support measures and associated legislation, which is a vital aspect of our advisory work.”

Alison Twiddy, LRSN’s project manager added: “We expect LRSN’s casework load to increase over the coming months as farmers and members of the rural community are affected not just by coronavirus-related issues and the financial impacts of the lockdown period, but by the erratic weather and the uncertainty caused by Brexit. Our current funding for Lea’s extra day a week will run out in September, so these funds from NFU Mutual’s Agency Giving Fund are exceptionally welcome and will help us to help many more farming and rural families.

“The current crisis has put paid to all our fundraising events so an additional challenge for us is to find income to ensure the continuation of our frontline services. The funds from the Lincolnshire NFU Mutual agencies will help enormously and enable our casework to continue at its heightened level for several more months. We are extremely grateful for the continued support of our local NFU offices for our much-needed work with Lincolnshire’s farming and rural folk.”

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, LRSN took the decision to adjust its face-to-face services, suspending the healthcare clinics and drop-in points at Louth livestock market and Spalding horticultural auction for as long as government guidance on social distancing required. However, LRSN’s casework continues as usual, with staff and volunteers continuing to provide support and advice to Lincolnshire’s farming and rural families. Casework is currently being undertaken almost entirely by telephone or video conference except in exceptional circumstances, to ensure the safety of both our clients and caseworkers. The reintroduction of LRSN health screening and drop-in clinics at Spalding horticultural auction and Louth livestock market is under review and consideration in line with social distancing guidelines and restrictions.

Last year, LRSN helped 160 farming and rural families to get back on track. 978 health checks were carried out at Louth and Newark livestock markets and at Spalding horticultural auction.