Covid-19 hits another organisation, with the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs making the difficult decision to cancel their events timetable until July, 1.

SAYFC are taking extra precautions in these uncertain times, advising all club gatherings to stop for 30 days and encouraging clubs to offer their services and support to their local communities.

Local clubs have taken up the call and have been advertising assistance to those in need, whether it be shopping, prescriptions or a phone call, their members have said they are here to help everyone.

Although events have been cancelled and some postponed, it is currently a busy and crucial time of the year for all YF clubs with it being AGM season.

“This is not something we can just cancel, or postpone for some time, it is an important time for all clubs passing on office bearer roles,” said Chief Executive of SAYFC, Penny Montgomerie.

“There is now an opportunity for clubs to get any support from SAYFC that they require, so that when things do re-open the secretaries and chairmen know what they are to do,” she continued.

“We are really conscious that we don’t want any clubs to shut down, so we are doing anything we can to benefit them.”

With this in mind, SAYFC are currently trialling important meetings via video conferencing to see how it works out for them.

Events that are supposed to take place at the RHS such as Tug of war, stock judging and handcrafts etc, throw up further questions amid the uncertainty.

It is difficult to know how long the current situation will continue, however, there is a possibility of scheduling an event later in the summer for these to take place, explained Penny.

With cancellations in mind, West Talent Spot was due to take place last weekend, however, with it being a huge part of the YF farming calendar, SAYFC are putting it out to the clubs as to whether they wish for it to be postponed until September time or wait and come back next year.

“There is a lot of work involved not only in producing it but rehearsing the performance, it has already involved a lot of time from our members,” Penny continued.

“It is now in the hands of the clubs as to whether they wish to postpone it, it is a lot to ask, however, so far we have received positive feedback, so time will tell, it might not work out but the decision will be made at a later date.”

SAYFC usually host their international exchanges in June, these have also been cancelled and as for outgoing exchanges, they are waiting to hear from individual hosts from other countries as to whether they want to continue the experience.

Group trips to Kilimanjaro and Russia have been postponed until September but it looks positive, with flights being re booked.

With all this in mind, there are some positives, SAYFC have more time on their hands and are currently in the middle of launching their new website, which the main aim to engage past and current members.

They are adding a new platform, which will help identify each member, whether it be your club, or if you are willing to offer any additional services e.g. coach, judge, farm visits.

Each club will have their own group in a means of communicating more easily with one another.

The purpose is to get more members on board, and to give a platform to every Scottish club. First glimpse of the new website was available for secretaries of YF clubs to see on Monday, March 23, and is expected to be fully launched within the next three weeks to everyone.

“It is something to keep past and present members in touch, if we continue to engage with it, it will grow, this is the time to actually push it,” said Penny.

Penny and her team are ensuring that they are there for anyone that needs the support as much as possible, whether that just be through social media, shopping or a chat.

Penny added that a lot of YFs will be busy lambing and isolating anyway, they just need to take extra precautions with hygiene during this crisis. SAYFC have taken to social media and asking members to send in their photos of what is keeping them busy in isolation, to keep everyone communicating and mental health strong.

“Our advice in these difficult times is to keep safe and listen to the government – don’t be silly about it. Make sure and keep interacting with your peers and don’t isolate yourself from everything. However, stay at home and avoid all non-essential contact,” she urged.

“Before mobile phones, it was hard to communicate, but there is now so many ways of keeping in contact with one another. We need everyone to look out for each other, we can all get through this together, check on your friends and stay safe,” concluded Penny.