The Exmoor Hill Farming Network is an independent, 100% farmer-led organisation which operates as a Community Interest Company (CIC).
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has had a fundamental impact on the Network’s activities, many of which have come to a halt. However, the Network has remained open, based remotely and available to members as a source of trusted information and – at the forefront –responding to the needs of the farming community here on Exmoor and in the Greater Exmoor area.
As regular readers of Exmoor Magazine will know, one of the Network’s Peer Support Groups which tackles rural isolation and mental health has continued throughout this pandemic and has met fortnightly via zoom since April. The Exmoor Women in Farming Group meet from the comfort of their own homes, engaging with over 40 individuals to date. The meetings have ranged from women’s health talks, to guest speakers from other rural parts of the UK talking about their farming opportunities and challenges and it is generally an opportunity for members to talk about their experiences too.
Network Office Katherine Williams, says, “Earlier this autumn it was suggested to support Macmillan Cancer Support as we had held a very successful coffee morning last September. After a discussion ensuring Covid measures could be observed, it was agreed to hold two cake sales at Blackmoor Gate and Cutcombe Market livestock markets during October by kind permission of Exmoor Farmers. The cake sales were overseen by myself and members of the Women in Farming Group. The cake sales were also accompanied by two prize draw meat hampers. The efforts of our farming communities raised a grand total of £1,204.80 for the charity, which works to provide specialist healthcare, information and financial support to people affected by cancer.
“We wanted to show our support in these unusual circumstances as this charity is close to many of our hearts in one way or another. This year we had to change our direction and ensure whatever we did was Covid secure. Everyone was very generous with their donations and we are exceedingly thankful for the support the farming community gave to this worthy cause’.”
PHOTO (taken before 5 November): Representatives from Exmoor Women in Farming Group who dedicated their time to assist with the sales. Left to right: Catherine Cowling, Lesley Nicholas and Samantha Lole.