RSABI - supporting people in Scottish agriculture for 125 years

By Carol McLaren, RSABI Chief Executive

RSABI’s new Chief Executive Carol McLaren took up the position at the start of the year. Carol grew up on a family farm in Perthshire and is well-known in the farming community, having previously worked as an agri-journalist, for whisky companies Edrington and Diageo, and for Quality Meat Scotland.

After four months in my new role, I am already incredibly proud of the dedicated team of staff, trustees and volunteers at RSABI, and the excellent work being delivered for the agricultural industry.

The service RSABI delivers for people in Scottish agriculture ranges from financial and emotional support to practical help and is always given with respect, understanding and confidentiality.  

Something which I had not realised before joining the team is the breadth of the range of the support offered by RSABI – from providing grants to help with heating costs to opening up channels of communication with statutory agencies, utility providers and creditors. 

One less well-known service which has seen demand treble since the start of the pandemic is our outgoing call service. Stress and loneliness are the main reasons for people receiving regular phone calls from our team of staff and volunteers.

When you contact RSABI you will find the response is always compassionate, understanding, and friendly and, for those in need of help, our team of case officers will find a way to make life feel less overwhelming. 

We’re incredibly grateful to have such fantastic support from the Scottish agricultural community and associated businesses. Whether it is taking part in a fundraising challenge, becoming a member of our supporters’ schemes – as Bell Ingram are – or a trustee on our board, the goodwill from those in the industry is greatly appreciated. 

During the coming year, RSABI will be celebrating its 125th anniversary and we have an exciting programme of events and activities lined up for this milestone year.

We'll also be asking for the agricultural community’s continued support to raise awareness of the work we do and encourage people who need support to get in touch without hesitation. 

We know there are people who could benefit from our support, including younger people, who for some reason are hesitating to reach out to us. We are looking at steps to address this and in the coming weeks we will be launching an enhanced helpline service which will extend the ways people can get in touch with us to seek support.

Our Helpline service has this spring moved to being open 24/7, 365 days a year, to ensure we are ready and waiting for calls at any time of day or night.

There is no doubt that the pandemic and the resulting enforced isolation has had a substantial impact on many people of all ages in agriculture and this is now compounded by the worry we all share about the situation in Ukraine and the effects of the crisis on fuel and input costs.

With the industry facing many challenges and times of change ahead, it is vital that people know, whatever is around the corner, that RSABI is there for them as we have been for 125 years.

Our service is always confidential, always friendly, and always understanding so if you are struggling, or worried about a friend, family member or neighbour, please share our number or contact us on 0808 1234 555 or email helpline@rsabi.org.uk. Don’t hesitate.

Article posted on 09/06/2022

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