A new study undertaken as part of FBD's Champion for Change programme reveals a strong sense of connection between farmers and their communities. Some 88% of farmers feel a strong sense of connection to their local communities compared to just 75% of urban dwellers.
Moreover, some 56% of farmers are engaged with a community group in their locality versus the national average of 41%.
These community groups tend to take the form of local groups and initiatives such as GAA clubs, churches, local charity groups, neighbourhood watch initiatives and tidy towns committees.
It is no great surprise that the farming community feel so connected to the goings on in their locality. They have a strong sense of community as well as a natural instinct for looking out for one another.
However, the study also indicates that this level of involvement is in the process of decreasing, as 76% of farmers said they were previously engaged with local groups. The study also showed that engagement levels are age driven with those aged 45 to 54 (49%) being the most active, a figure which generally decreases as people get older.
Fiona Muldoon CEO of FBD, said, “This figure is a particular concern as the ageing profile of farmers means they are more at risk than ever of becoming more isolated and more vulnerable as they get older."
More reassuring figures from the survey are that 40% of farmers know and trust their neighbours well enough to leave the keys to their homes with each other. Meanwhile, a third (32%) of farmers feel comfortable enough with their neighbours to spontaneously ‘drop in for a cup of tea’. This compares to just 1-in-4 non-farmers.
On these figures Muldoon responded that it is "no great surprise that the farming community feel so connected to the goings on in their locality. They have a strong sense of community as well as a natural instinct for looking out for one another. You only have to turn on the news at the moment to see extraordinary acts of kindness and togetherness as people support each other during the recent flooding crisis."
The study was conducted as part of FBD’s Champions for Change programme – a major national farm safety and awareness initiative. This month’s Champions for Change theme is about promoting community spirit and FBD is asking people to nominate their Community Champion for Change, someone who makes a big difference in their community and deserves recognition.
The overall winner of the award will receive €1,000 towards the community project of their choice and recognition given to all finalists.