Supporting those in the agricultural sector with poor mental health by providing support, spreading awareness and training those in farming to be aware of poor mental health and its impact within our communities.
At the DPJ Foundation, we rely on the farming community to help us: whether that is raising awareness and challenging the stigma, or being at the end of the phone to support those who need help. You can help our community by becoming a “Regional Champion” volunteer.
The role of a Regional Champion is to be the eyes, ears and presence of DPJ on the ground in your area. Our Regional Champions are based all over Wales and work within their local community. They are the local representatives for the DPJ Foundation in their area.
What you might do...
The role of a Regional Champion can differ for each volunteer, depending on where their strengths are and the amount of time you have available. It might include:
Attending events as a DPJ ambassador – this could be a large event like a show where the champion would be involved in setting up and running a stand, talking to people about what The DPJ Foundation is and what it offers.
Speaking at events or to clubs and groups – we get invited to many different events (face to face and online) as speakers to talk about DPJ, some champions are confident in talking to small and sometimes larger groups about the foundation, where it started and what we do. All volunteers are provided with presentations and information they might need and receive training.
Spreading awareness – through social media and through links in their community our Regional Champions look for opportunities where posters and stickers can be put up to spread awareness. As they know their area best, they look for opportunities for where DPJ can be part of events, businesses etc. Some Regional Champions have visited tractor dealerships or markets to ask them to put up stickers or posters. Others have gone to local pubs and rugby clubs. Some of our volunteers have written articles for the local paper, blogged or vlogged or appeared on TV or radio to speak about the DPJ and why they volunteer.
Donation collection – we often get asked to receive cheques and be presented with donations. Our Regional Champions are the local representatives who will receive cheques on DPJ’s behalf and build those connections and explain about our work.
To volunteer in this role, you must be:
Willing to become part of the DPJ Foundation team and passionate about getting across our messages.
Understanding of farming life and appreciate some of the challenges this brings.
Passionate about improving mental health in rural communities and driven to get more people accessing help when they need it.
Able to commit to volunteering with us for at least a year: we hope that once you join us, you will want to stay as part of the DPJ Foundation family.
Aged 18 or over (if you are younger, take a look at our Student Champions page).
Time commitment & ongoing support
The role is flexible and can be done at times that suit the volunteer and what they have going on. There is also the opportunity for volunteers to expand the role and take it that step further should they want to. All volunteers are part of an online social group where ideas are shared, events are discussed and support is given.
All volunteers are invited to undertake any training they should require including mental health awareness training which is a compulsory part of the role.
If you are interested in finding out more, please send us an email on email@example.com explaining where you live and why you would like to get involved.
What our volunteers say
As a veteran of a lifelong challenging mental health journey, I am passionate about mental health. I am also passionate about farming. Following the death by suicide of a farmer I had known since childhood, I felt a strong desire to do something to support the mental health of the agricultural sector, and people with similar struggles. I searched for some time, and when The DPJ Foundation appeared in my Facebook feed I immediately contacted them to volunteer.
I have been a Regional Champion with The DPJ Foundation for three and a half years since February 2020. I cover the Uwch Conwy area around where I live and work, and my children attend school. I also occasionally attend events in Gwynedd and Denbighshire. I use social media and local community newspapers to highlight the work of the charity. I liaise with other mental health charities such as Papyrus and Mind, the NHS, surgeries, police, vets, marts, agricultural suppliers, butchers, clergy, schools and colleges, YFC’s, RSPB, SNPA, and the farming support networks – NFU, FUW, Tir Dewi, FCN, RABI etc as well as farmers and agricultural employees; to promote the service The DPJ Foundation provides.
Mostly I attend shows and sheepdog trials, with the occasional speed shear, freshers fair and mental health week event. I have written a mental health awareness article for The Youngstock, an agricultural magazine for children, and created and presented a workshop on emotional intelligence to secondary school students.
I love chatting to people face to face and feel that you never know who will approach you to share their mental health journey. It is always beneficial to have an awareness of mental health and some skills to be supportive or just to know how to listen and maybe signpost. I feel honoured to be a small part of the support network developing around the agricultural sector in Wales.