Farmstrong Scotland, an initiative to help farmers, crofters and their families cope with the ups and downs of farming and crofting by sharing things they can do to look after themselves and the people in their business has appointed a new member of the team.

Farmer’s daughter Clare Dickson has joined the scheme as a Community Engagement Specialist.

Clare, 38, grew up on her parents’ farm near Blyth Bridge, Peeblesshire, where she still lives with her husband, a farmer’s son who works for a machinery dealership, and her two young boys.

Before taking a career break to bring up her family, Clare spent nearly ten years with the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET), latterly as a Network Support Coordinator, which involved supporting the Project Coordinators, their committees and volunteers.

Clare serves on the Peebles Show committee, undertaking the trophy convener role, together with her father. She is also a committee member and treasurer of the Peeblesshire Agricultural Discussion Society.

She said: “I’m eager to start spreading the word about Farmstrong Scotland; getting out among farming and crofting communities to let them know about the programme and how they can get involved.”

The decision to launch Farmstrong in Scotland follows on from a visit by New Zealand farmer Doug Avery, who drew huge audiences when he toured the country back in 2018 to talk about his own challenges with mental health and wellbeing.

Clare added: “I went to one of the Doug Avery sessions and was very moved by what he was saying, that farmers look after their stock and machinery but don’t put any value in looking after themselves.

“As we know, farmers don’t really retire, so I admire my in-laws who farm on Bute. They try to cover each other so they can get away sometimes from the farm for the weekend.

“My own parents and brother also make a point of getting away from the farm often. Everybody who farms or crofts knows that if you stay at home you always find a job to do!

“To be involved right from the start of a new programme is very exciting, I can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Alix Ritchie, Programme Director for Farmstrong Scotland, said: “We are delighted that Clare is joining us; she is very much a people person and I am sure she’ll hit the ground running spreading the Farmstrong Scotland message.

“It’s a very exciting time for all of us involved in the programme and we are so looking forward to sharing all its inspiring yet practical wellbeing messages with the farming and crofting communities.”