Philip Rainey and Jude McCann (1)

Local Agri-Businesses Unite to Help Simple Power and Rural Support Deliver over 100 Hampers to Rural Families in Need 

11th January 2016: Farming and rural charity, Rural Support, and wind energy company, Simple Power, are celebrating the success of their third annual ‘Christmas Hamper Scheme’, which aimed to help hard-hit families throughout Northern Ireland.

With support from 19 local agri businesses donating food and drink items, the charity was aided in delivering over 100 hampers for farming and rural families in need this Christmas. Since its launch in 2013, the scheme has grown year-on-year, with 2015 delivering the largest appeal to date and doubling the number of hampers distributed since year one.

Rural Support’s Chief Executive, Jude McCann, commented, “In the wake of farm gate prices and the dairy crisis, 2015 has been a particularly challenging year for the farming and rural community. This has been reflected in the increasing number of people availing of Rural Support’s services through our helpline which has seen a 25% increase in calls in recent months compared to the same period last year.”

“With even more families in distress, we are delighted that we were able to deliver our biggest hamper appeal yet, with over 100 families benefitting from the scheme this year. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of local agri-producers, especially given the added pressures these companies are under during the festive season. Their help is much needed and makes a great difference to a rural family in need this Christmas. We would like to sincerely thank Simple Power for their support in co-ordinating the scheme and enabling us to reach more families with packed hampers this year.”

Rural Support is working with its CSR partner, wind energy company Simple Power, on campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of health and wellbeing in rural communities and farm families, including the Christmas Hamper Appeal.

Simple Power Chief Executive, Philip Rainey, commented, “We are delighted to see the Christmas Hamper Appeal become bigger and better each year and we are proud to support this very important charity initiative. Christmas can be a very special time for many but it’s important to acknowledge that it can also be a difficult time of year for those in hardship. With the support of the local producers, the hampers go some way towards delivering a little Christmas cheer this year to hard-hit rural families, alongside Rural Support’s very beneficial support services. The scheme would not be possible without the generous support of donors and we thank each of the 19 companies that contributed to the scheme this year.”

This year’s Christmas Hamper Appeal included generous donations from Ballyeamon Eggs, Cavanagh Eggs, Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt, Comber Potato Company, Dale Farm, DJ’s Apple Juice, The Good Little Company, Karro Foods, Kerry Food Group, Lidl NI, Mash Direct, Moy Park, Punjana Tea, Rural Development Council, South Antrim Community Network, Tayto, Tesco NI, Ulster Farmers Union, White’s Oats and Wilsons Country.

Rural Support helps farming and rural families across Northern Ireland on a wide range of issues, from farm business and financial issues to concerns about physical and mental health. The charity provides support for the rural community through a helpline offering a listening and signposting service.