Two farms in Scotland are among the first to become part of Countrymen UK, a registered charity with an exciting new nationwide initiative.
The aim of the charity is to help men become more resilient to the life changes they are experiencing as a result of rural isolation and ageing.
Buchan Community Farm in Maud and Touchdown Memorial Home for Horses in Moray, Aberdeenshire, are looking for members and volunteers to join a brand new venture designed to allow men with health issues to access support services in an environment they understand and can relate to.
Countrymen Clubs UK are particularly keen to recruit older men who have long term health conditions including Dementia, Parkinson’s and other limiting long term illnesses, but are open to men of all ages who experience rural isolation and deteriorating physical or mental health who would welcome the support.
The idea behind Countrymen UK is for all men, regardless of their mobility or cognitive levels, to have the opportunity to participate in healthy, active and social activities in a safe and supported countryside or farm environment.
Thanks to funding from the National Lottery, more than a dozen Care Farms and Gardens across the UK have signed up and are aiming to recruit members and volunteers, to their newly formed Countrymen UK Clubs.
Founder Julie Plumley said: ‘The unique combination of activities taking place outdoors reflects our belief, that getting back to farm and countryside environments and green spaces, overcomes isolation and has a positive impact on physical health and mental wellbeing.’
The clubs also help partners and carers of the members, providing an opportunity for respite as well as the chance to socialise and to create a support network.
One Countryman, Dan Hodgeson, added: ‘I was depressed and isolated. I missed the life I once had in the countryside and had little contact with people outside my family. That’s all changed now. I love being outside again. It brings back memories. It’s become a new adventure for me – a healthy adventure. And I’m surrounded by people who share my interests.’
Countrymen UK Clubs run several sessions every month throughout the year. For more information about Countrymen UK go to www.countrymenuk.org.