More than £6,000 was raised at a charity evening in Newtown which brought together farming families and agricultural workers to help raise awareness of mental health during such unprecedented times of uncertainty in the industry.

Hafren Veterinary Group co-hosted the 200-person event at 23 Social with WR Partners and NFU Cymru to raise £6,328.44 for The DPJ Foundation which provides a 24-hour seven days-a-week confidential counselling referral service for people working in agriculture.

Mar Parry, the mental health charity's representative in Powys, was presented with a giant cheque by Hafren Veterinary Group director George Roberts at the Newtown

She said: "Working in rural communities it’s sometimes hard to reach out. That’s why our telephone (0800 587 426) and text service (07860 048799) mean people can contact wherever they are.


"As a rural health visitor, I see the effect on families and the veterinary service because they’re perhaps the only other people going onto that yard.

"£6,000 is an incredible figure which will go towards offering counselling in a timely manner. It doesn’t have to be in a clinic room, it can be in a tractor cab, and in a language that they are comfortable with. It shows strength to reach out."

Newtown vet George Roberts said The DPJ Foundation recognises that the veterinary sector is a "gateway to farms" and have trained staff to recognise the signs of mental health and help signpost clients.

County Times: Hafren Vets director George Roberts.Hafren Vets director George Roberts. (Image: Anwen Parry/County Times)

"It was very much the agricultural community who came out in support of itself," George said about the fundraising event. "It was down to them that it did work, and people dug deep into their pockets. I never expected to raise that amount of money."

Vets are some of the only people who visit farmers, and often during difficult times when animals are unwell.

George added: "A lot of the problems they do have are not their fault, things do happen with animals and nature. Some of the effects of Schmallenburg disease have been absolutely catastrophic. The bug has wiped out most of the lambs for the year and that’s their salary and livelihoods gone through no fault of their own. How do you support people through that? In a way that is where WR Partners and vets do help and work together to signpost.

"It's a very volatile industry. They are very exposed and vulnerable.”