YOUNG farmers across the country have been supporting each other through the coronavirus pandemic as the feeling of isolation has been greater than ever.

While Herefordshire’s young farmers’ clubs are used to meeting and enjoying the social aspect of being a member, this has all been put on hold for the past three months.

Sheep farmer Emily Pritchard, who is also secretary for Craswall Young Farmers’ Club (YFC) in the Golden Valley, said she and her peers are all facing similar challenges.

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“As a young farmer there is always challenges and issues arising whatever the situation, however Covid-19 has brought new challenges to face.

“Being a young farmer and living rurally isolation is a key issue for myself and many others, having YFC was key to being able to get out and see others, luckily it isn’t just a select few who are going through this at the moment we all are.

“Being part of YFC has been hugely important to me especially during the recent months.

“I’m secretary for Craswall YFC and trying to think of new ways to keep us all connected hasn’t been easy. but we have had plenty online to do with national, county and the club putting challenges and tasks together for members.

“At a club level, I have organised meetings for general catch ups between members and to discuss any ideas members have, we have done Zoom quizzes, competitions and challenges.

“It’s so important now more than ever for us to be connected and apart from a few technical issues we have been able to communicate and socialise with each other virtually.

“YFC is like a family, we are all there for each other and I feel having the virtual communication is important for all YFC members wellbeing.”

The support which has been offered by members to each other in Craswall comes as the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs urged clubs to stay in touch.

The organisers of the nationwide ‘Take Time To Keep Connected’ initiative said talking to others is a very important part of maintaining good mental health.

A number of points have been shared by the National Federation to help young farmers across the UK through the pandemic.

Talking through the points was Annie Ruth, from Woolhope YFC, who has been trying to keep members as connected as possibly during the coronavirus lockdown.

As part of the #BackingHerefordshireFarming campaign, we’ve looked at the challenges faced by farmers of all ages, with the toll of isolation on mental health a recurring topic..

“Talking to others is a very important part of everyone’s mental health,” Woolhope YFC chair Annie Ruth said.

“Establishing and strengthening the connections that we already have can help us feel valued and understood.

“It’s also time to recognise that harmful relationship can make us unhappy, and while we’re in the rush to return back to normal, perhaps it’s time to think about which part of normal are worth rushing back to.

“It’s really important to explore your own thoughts with others and receive the support and encouragement they can give you.

“Don’t be afraid to share your own worries and concerns and give time to listen to the other person you’re talking to.”

She added: “As chairman of my club I’m organising weekly video calls where we might do a quiz or play bingo.

“It allows us to take our minds off the issues or talk about them if we need to.”

More about Take Time To Keep Connected: