Rural counsellors to help central west producers

From July, 1, Rural Aid Counsellors will be distributed across NSW with the aim of helping farming families.

The counsellors will based in Dubbo, Broken Hill and the Hunter Valley areas.

“Those counsellors will go farm to farm and will work with farmers and families to not only help manage and build resilience but also provide assistance to them with referrals to financial counsellors, marriage counsellors or whatever else it might be,” said Rural Aid founder Charles Alder.

“And just be a conduit in the community. A person who will live in the community for a number of years and be widely recognised.”

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Mr Alder said farmers don’t necessarily put their hand up for help, so they’ve got to come to them.

“The big issue for us is actually coming to see these farmers, not necessarily waiting for the farmers to come to us because they wont.. we’ve got to go to them,” he said.

“If we can help farmers communicate better with their families, if we can reduce the onset of Domestic Violence or stress, and save them from divorce then we’ll be able to... help families get through this.”

Mr Alder said the Rural Aid counsellors will even be able to organise for farming families to have a holiday.

“It may just be the thing that they need mentally to help them get through,” he said.

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Another program that the Australian charity has formed is Farm Rescue, which takes volunteers and tradesmen to help fix infrastructure that farmers do not have the skill, time or money to do themselves.

In 12 months they have visited western NSW including Coolah, Duneedoo and the Pilliga.

If you would like to volunteer or wish to nominate a farmer in need of help visit www.farmrescue.com.au 

“If we can’t provide the feed to your farm, but we can come out and paint the place for you, or clean the gardens or house… those are some of the things farmers put off…,” Mr Alder said.

“It lifts spirits… surroundings are an important thing for people in their lives.

“Just a fresh coat of paint on your place can give you a pride and you are now welcoming your friends back to your place.”

Since April and through to October, Farm Rescue will be making these trips at least one week a month, Mr Alder said.

“At the moment we’re looking for a retired builder to help us out as a volunteer to help us out and coordinate some of these trips,” he said.