Farmer well-being a council priority

A group set up to support Cumbria’s communities during the Coronavirus emergency is reaching out to the farming sector in the south of the county.

The South Lakeland Community Resilience Group, a partnership including local authorities, NHS, emergency services and voluntary and faith groups, was formed early in the Coronavirus response to get practical help and advice out to vulnerable people in the district’s communities.

Its work so far has included promoting a dedicated support helpline and linking in with community groups in towns and villages to mobilise volunteers to assist with everything from collecting prescriptions to shopping trips.Every Mind Matters logo_73472

The forum has also recognised that with so many people working from home, home-schooling children or feeling worried or anxious about their health or employment, it is vitally important for everyone to do all they can to look after their own and their loved ones’ mental and physical health.

Councillor Suzie Pye, South Lakeland District Council’s portfolio holder for Health, Wellbeing and Financial Resilience, says it is important that Cumbria’s farming communities are not forgotten and is urging the sector’s workers to ensure they consider their welfare to prevent issues becoming more serious.

Councillor Pye said: “These are challenging times for everyone and our farming communities are no exception.

“They are also worried, not only about their own and their loved ones’ health but also about the health and long-term impact on their industry. All this can take its toll on our mental and physical wellbeing.’’

The South Lakeland Community Resilience Group is supporting Public Health England’s ‘Every Mind Matters’ campaign, which has been developed in partnership with clinicians, academics and leading mental health charities and offers plenty of helpful hints, advice and practical support.

Councillor Pye continued: “Every Mind Matters encourages people to complete a personal Covid-19 ‘Mind Plan’, using a quick and free interactive tool that creates tailored mental well-being advice.

“The website also includes information and support for specific mental wellbeing issues such as anxiety, stress, low mood and trouble sleeping.’’

The group has also supported the distribution of 56,000 self-help guides produced by the charity Every Life Matters called ‘Wellbeing and Mental Health during Covid-19’, which are being sent out to every address in South Lakeland, as well as to GP surgeries, food banks and voluntary and community groups.

In addition to looking after mental wellbeing, the group is also encouraging people to ensure they get, or stay, active during the lockdown.

Councillor Robin Ashcroft, South Lakeland District Council’s portfolio holder for Economy, Culture and Leisure, said: “Staying active is more important than ever right now, for both our physical and mental wellbeing. There are some great tips and ideas out there for staying active for all ages – everything from movement and mindfulness videos for use with children to online yoga and later life training.

“Active Cumbria has pulled together some fantastic information including from national and local providers to help you to ‘stay in and work out’.’’

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