Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I), is a grant-making charity which helps farmers with financial difficulties. By encouraging Feather Down customers to make a small donation when they book a stay at Feather Down Farms, a considerable amount of money can be raised, contributing to the farming community that the Feather Down farms belong to.
Set up in 1860 with Queen Victoria as its first patron, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution’s charter was most recently amended in 2012 to reflect their role in the farming community into the 21st century.
The aims of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution are close to home for Feather Down, which has enabled farmers all over Britain to branch out and earn an additional steady income to supplement their core farming activities. The family glamping company recognises the pride of farmers in their profession; the farm tour giving guests an insight into agricultural life and the day-to-day workings on the farm, has always been a great addition to the much-loved holidays at Feather Down Farms. Feather Down as a company, also recognises the important value of farming and inter-dependence with society.
Besides the obvious role of farms in food production, farmland supports other industries, such as tourism and recreational activities, which play important roles in rural economies and communities. Farming has social and cultural values, as well as a value in landscape management and stewardship of the natural environment and ultimately is linked to communities outside farming in more ways than we might expect.
Farming and production of our food
The production of food is farming’s main value to society – both in the present day and in the assurance of producing quality food into the future. People value knowing where food comes from and how it is produced, and are particularly concerned about animal welfare and British/regional/local origins. For some, a direct relationship with producers is important, as evidenced by the growth in farm shops and farmers’ markets. We have some of the best farmers in the world. We produce wonderful, high quality food. With the ever-increasing threats of climate change, the focus is increasingly on local, seasonal production. With the ever-increasing concern with health issues, the focus is on quality food. Our farming community has an important contribution in this.
Farming and the land
Farmlands provide valuable natural amenities, attracting regular recreational visits and increasing the value of nearby property. Farmland supports other sectors in our society, such as tourism, riding and other leisure activities, which play important roles in rural economies and communities. There is much evidence that farmland landscapes and biodiversity are highly valued in society. The therapeutic benefits of nature are increasingly recognised and there is potential for farmland to deliver these benefits. Moreover, agriculture plays an important role in national, regional and local identities. For example, farmland has been the subject in much of the UK’s best-loved literature and art, becoming the very essence of our cultural identity.
Farming and people
Farming people themselves add another layer to the value of farming. Farmers have shaped distinctive landscapes, places and communities over the centuries and, despite declining numbers, remain a significant influence on rural life in many areas. The value society places on farming as a whole is evident, for example, through the popularity of farming-themed television and radio programmes and in the numbers of people visiting open farms. The recent growth in care farming is evidence of the considerable therapeutic potential of the farm as a whole, in which farmers play a crucial role.
For all these reasons, farming and society are closely inter-connected. Farm life is financially not always easy and sometimes unforeseen events provide a large financial set-back. Considering the huge value of farming, support to farmers in times of hardship seems only natural.
Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution
Luckily there is R.A.B.I., which supports farming people of all ages if they are in financial difficulty and of limited means for example following illness, accident, bereavement, family breakdown, or animal disease, and offer long-term help to the elderly and disabled of all ages. The way the The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution helps is through giving one-off or regular grants, as well as providing essential household items and disability equipment. For working farmers the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution funds relief staff to help in a crisis or offers training through a Gateway Project to help bring extra income on to the farm. For retired and/or disabled people costs towards care home and home-help costs can be paid. The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution also runs its own two residential homes.
A new micro-donation scheme will allow Feather Down’s customers to voluntarily donate a nominal amount starting from £1 when they book their holidays online. Those who have already booked will also be invited to donate should they wish to do so. The contribution of Feather Down guests will be used to complement essential Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution grants towards for example, the provision of winter heating supplements, assistance with utility bills, the financial costs of coping with illness and the unforeseen recent damages of flooding.
Feather Down sincerely hopes that their customers will make a small donation to the long-standing Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution charity when they book a stay at Feather Down Farms, to support the farming community and the way of life that the Feather Down farms belong to.