Supporting R.A.B.I as our 2021 Charity of the Year
Why does R.A.B.I exist?
R.A.B.I – the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution – is farming’s oldest and largest charity. We’ve been serving the farming community since 1860.
They offer financial support, practical care and guidance to farming people of all ages, including farmers, farmworkers and dependants.
Although a lot of the help they provide is financial, they do much more than send out cheques in the post. They strive to build personal relationships and will tailor our support to suit you. If they can’t directly provide what you need, they will do their best to liaise with other organisations and agencies on your behalf.
R.A.B.I are here for the small things as well as the big and treat every application for support on its own merits, working with compassion and discretion.
It is their vision that no member of the farming community should ever have to face adversity alone.
To find out more about what they can do for you please call our Freephone helpline 0808 281 9490. You will speak to a friendly member of the team in their Oxford office and your call will be 100% confidential.
R.A.B.I. operates in England and Wales – a sister charity, RSABI operates in Scotland.
Charity founder John Mechi, the son of an Italian businessman, certainly wasn’t born into farming stock; his father took refuge in England during the ‘Reign of Terror’ and found work in the household of George III at Kensington Palace.
Mechi Junior developed a keen love of farming and new ways of doing things and constructed a model farm at Tiptree Heath in Essex. With the industrial revolution gaining force, he warned others that farm labourers would have to be paid more and housing conditions improved to stop workers drifting away from the industry. He wrote letters to The Times to canvass support from influential landowners and money came in from over 700 regular subscribers. The first meeting of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution took place on February 7, 1860.
The charity’s initial purpose was simple; ‘To secure a home for, or pension to, the bona fide farmer or widow of a farmer and to maintain and educate the orphan children of farmers’.
Since then, the ‘Agricultural Benevolent Institution’ has evolved considerably with royal connections running deep to give the charity its royal prefix. Queen Victoria became the charity’s first patron and succeeding monarchs followed suit, including George V, who granted a Royal Charter in 1935 to mark the 75th anniversary.
The Charter was amended in 1999 to extended support further to include farmworkers as well as farmers. This was particularly helpful during the 2001 Foot and Mouth outbreak when R.A.B.I paid out almost £9 million in nine months to more than 8,000 families.
R.A.B.I and mental health
It’s easy to overlook one of your most important assets, your own mental wellbeing.
Farming can be a 24/7 business and many in the industry work long hours in isolation in remote, rural areas. That’s why strong support networks are vital for maintaining good mental health, especially during stressful times. R.A.B.I have caseworkers that are available and willing to talk through problems and concerns in complete confidence, without judgement. They are trained in suicide awareness and mental health first-aid and provide a human, sympathetic and caring link to the charity.
It is vital that anyone suffering from mental health issues seeks professional help. They work closely with many other organisations and agencies to ensure support is provided where it is needed, as quickly and efficiently as possible.