Hundreds of woolly hats have been gifted to farmers across England and Wales as part of a campaign to support the mental health of people in rural communities.

The hats have been knitted as part of national charity The Farming Community Network’s (FCN) ‘Wool and Wellness’ campaign with British Wool, which launched in winter 2022.

The Wool and Wellness campaign encourages members of the public and the farming community to take up the challenge of knitting a hat using wool, stitching in an FCN Helpline label (03000 111 999) – and then gifting it to another person.

The campaign hopes to raise awareness of the importance of good mental health in farming, encouraging people to keep the FCN Helpline number close by in case they need to talk to someone who understands farming life about any pressures, worries or concerns they may be having.

Since launch, the campaign has seen hundreds of woolly hats gifted to farmers in England and Wales.

Linda Jones, FCN Cymru National Manager, said: “The Wool and Wellness campaign has been well-received by people in rural communities in Wales and England. It allows people to utilise a great natural product – wool – in a supportive way, knitting hats that can keep us all warm during the cold weather, whilst also ensuring the FCN contact details are close to hand. We want to remind everyone that they are part of a supportive community, and that there is help at hand from our charity should people need to speak with someone in confidence.”

A local ‘Knit and Natter’ group in Gower, Wales has seen over 60 hats knitted as part of the campaign – one of many local initiatives taking place in Wales and England. Knit and Natter was started locally in 2019 at The Beaufort Arms pub, Kittle.

FCN supporter Carolyn Dyche, who organises the ‘Knit and Natter’ group, said: “Living in a large rural area can often result in people feeling isolated and lonely, which can have a huge negative impact on mental health.

“Knitting is a lovely hobby or occupation, but it can be a solitary one. As a group we have welcomed the opportunity to knit for FCN’s Wool and Wellness campaign. Knitting for farmers is therapeutic for us and our hats are knitted with so much tender love and care. We hope that in receiving our hats farmers will know that we care about them, think about them, and that they are not alone.”

The group’s hats are available for farmers to collect at Monmouthshire Market, where they can be picked up from FCN volunteers who will be present within the Monmouthshire Rural Support Centre.

FCN Ambassador and North Wales farmer Will Evans said: “’Wool and Wellness’ is a great campaign for encouraging farmers to look out for one another and raise awareness of the work of The Farming Community Network. The charity does some fantastic work, supporting approximately 6,000 people each year from farming and allied industries, and I’m proud to be an Ambassador for FCN in Wales and the wider UK.”

More information about the ‘Wool and Wellness’ campaign is available here:

Young FCN supporter Fred wearing hat as part of Wool and Wellness campaign

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