THE 'Big Inflatable Walk’ will be taking place in Llanfyllin this Saturday, November 14 to promote the work of The DPJ Foundation and raise awareness of mental health in agriculture.

Adhering to Covid regulations, Llanfyllin young farmers and members of the local community will be walking more than three miles from Bwlch y Cibau to Llanfyllin in a variety of inflatable costumes.

From dinosaurs to unicorns, it sure is set to put smiles on faces and raise awareness of mental health in agriculture, and the fantastic work of the DPJ Foundation.

Kate Miles, The DPJ Foundation Charity Manager said: "“The DPJ Foundation is a mental health charity that works with farmers and the agricultural community in Wales.

"We deliver mental health awareness training to farmers and people who work with farmers, we work to raise awareness of mental health in agriculture and to beat the stigma around talking about mental health and we operate a 24/7 confidential call and text line called Share the Load.

"Share the Load gives farmers and their families the opportunity to speak to someone non-judgmental and who will understand them. It is staffed by trained volunteers who either come from a farming background or have a good understanding of farming.

"We can also provide fast access to qualified counsellors for those who need it. Most of the funding for this service comes from donations and we are so grateful for the continued support that we have received from the farming community this year.

"Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis we have seen an increase in call numbers of a third. However, as we start to go into the winter, we expect this to increase further. This has been a challenging year for many, especially those in the agricultural community, with the extremes of weather, Covid-19 and uncertainty.

"It has been especially difficult with markets operating on a drop and go basis and the usual social interaction that we as farmers look forward to not being possible. This all can take a toll on mental wellbeing.

"We can all play our part by reaching out to those in our community to offer help and simply asking 'how are you' and really listening can help. We are here at the DPJ Foundation to help too and no concern is too small or too big for us to help. We are determined to help break the stigma around mental health in the farming community and we want to encourage farmers and their families who need help to get that support.

"Our Share the Load number is 0800 587 4262.”

Sian Lewis, Young Farmer and Llanfyllin YFC Club Chairman, added: "Covid-19 has had a real impact on people feeling lonely, particularly in our rural communities.

"The pandemic started during lambing which was already a lonely and isolating time for farmers.

"When the lockdown began, it prolonged the feeling for many in the farming community. Young Farmers Clubs have held quizzes and virtual competitions throughout the pandemic to keep our minds busy,

which has had us communicating in ways we never thought we would – over Zoom!

"The Big Inflatable Walk is a fantastic opportunity for us as a group of young people in rural Montgomeryshire to work with the local community, and not only do what YFC do best, which includes dressing up and making a fool of ourselves but to also highlight a massive issue that doesn’t get spoken about enough in the agricultural community, mental health.

"I can’t wait to take part and I am searching the net for the most outrageous inflatable costume possible!”

If you are in the area on Saturday, November 14, keep your eyes peeled for the giant inflatables.