Mole Valley Farmers have donated £2,500 to the Farming Community Network (FCN) as a result of plastic bag sales from their retail stores over the last 12 months.

The FCN is a voluntary organisation and charity that supports farmers and families in the farming community through difficult times. The network of 400 volunteers across England and Wales help around 6,000 individuals a year with various issues, from money worries to family issues, health problems and farming concerns.

FCN’s south west regional director Stephen Dennis said the £2,500 would be used to support the charity’s national helpline and regional volunteers across the UK. He said: “The donation is very valuable. It means even more than the money - it’s the recognition of the need for the FCN. We’re constantly looking at how we can support those in need. If we see a rise in certain issues, we’re always looking at ways to help.”

For example, in recent years the charity has seen an increase in farmers struggling with family related issues and particularly succession. Volunteers are also regularly needed to provide emotional support.

Mr Dennis explained: “We have seen a rise in mental health issues and stress and anxiety in farming. We’re here to help and you needn’t be in crisis before you contact us. We seek to be there for people and especially those people struggling with loneliness and depression.”

Julie Edwards, Mole Valley Farmers’ head of communications and agricultural affairs said the farmer owned company is keen to ensure that support is available to help its members through challenging times.

She said: “Farming can be hugely challenging and lonely at times. The FCN is vital to ensure farmers have somewhere to turn to during difficulties.”

To talk to a sympathetic person who understands farmers and rural life, call the FCN on 03000 111999, 7am to 11pm, every day of the year or visit