Group of people on a hillside
Group of people on a hillside

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Jenny  Walking Sheep Up Street
Jenny Walking Sheep Up Street

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Beekeepers examining a frame of bees
Beekeepers examining a frame of bees

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Group of people on a hillside
Group of people on a hillside

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Community and Collaboration

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)

The Pandemic has only heightened the issues of Mental Health and Wellbeing, but the positive from this has been greater awareness and drive towards ensuring everyone can identify and access help and support where needed. Rural isolation can increase such impacts, purely due to lower populations and lower levels of services or simply less opportunities to see people. Farming can be a notoriously stressful and lonely profession, adding to this the loss of regular events like the smaller weekly livestock markets, means many people have lost contact as a result.

The DHFP and a small group of volunteers from within the Dartmoor Farming Community recently undertook training from Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England, that provided an insight and tools that will allow us to better identify the risks and signs of concern, and how to provide help to those people as a first step. As a result, we can offer a listening and understanding ear to anyone and refer them on to other help if its required. Just contact the Hill Farm Project office initially and we can help with this.

On a similar theme, we are working with the Farming Community Network - Farming Community Network (fcn.org.uk) and The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) to develop a few more Farmer Breakfast groups across Dartmoor, following a similar set up that regularly runs to the south of the moor. It’s a way for a regular but informal meet up and chat, loosely revolving around farming but any relevant issues that provide a bit of time out, chat or problem sharing – and particularly relevant for perhaps older or retired farmers, those unable to get as involved in local events as they used to, and especially men, reflecting the fact that men may not confront some of their issues [not saying they talk less overall…..!].

 

More of this to follow soon, but if you are interested in getting involved in a Farmer Breakfast in your area please let us know at hfp@dartmoor.gov.uk.  

Collaborations

We know how much we can gain by working together and the ability to demonstrate greater benefit and impact as a result of this. We are very keen to further a number of working partnerships and collaborations that our role at the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project (DHFP) presents to us.

For example;

  • Farmer peer groups – sharing knowledge and experience between local farmers, seeing first-hand, practical steps of how to adapt or trial activity, both locally or further afield (we recently organised a Study Trip to the Yorkshire Dales and Lakes District for ~20 Dartmoor farmers to compare and contrast farming in the Uplands and to share ideas).

  • Joint initiatives – DHFP can help to facilitate or manage initiatives that require a central point of contact to co-ordinate parties, maybe to help identify potential means of financial funding, organise field events or help communicate and disseminate the work to a wider audience for awareness.

  • Research and Trials – with a good network of contacts across different sectors, DHFP can help to link up and scale up opportunities that represent multiple benefits for all involved; ensuring farmers have the ability to trial new approaches, test technology in the field (Dartmoor conditions!)  or simply access information which is relevant and useful for the Farm Business.

  • Conversely; DHFP are a point of contact for those Researchers, Companies or individuals who may be seeking how to turn their ideas into practical demonstrations and looking for a way to implement this, we can help link up contacts and share the outcomes and knowledge with our wider group.

  • Communications – Currently growing the ability to update our own communications via website, social media and direct mailing, the Hill Farm Project will continue to promote our work and representation across all of Dartmoor on your behalf. This includes strengthening the links with local business, services and communities. We want to hear from you, know what works, get your input on what might be missing...

  • Workshops, Training & Events – Post-Covid, we are pleased to be able to restart a series of events either for direct skills training or with guest speakers, site visits and insights that appeal to a wide range of interests. Please see our Events page for further details as we develop these.

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