12 February 2013

MSP Welcomes Grant to Benevolent Fund

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the announcement of a £50,000 funding award for the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI) by the First Minister.

The First Minister announced the grant of £50,000 to be given to RSABI whilst speaking at a National Farmers Union Scotland event, which celebrates its centenary this year. The grant funding will be administered through the RSABI, a registered Scottish charity which helps to relieve hardship and poverty amongst people who have depended on the land for their livelihoods.

It is expected the funding will help farmers and those working on the land by providing assistance to those individuals who find themselves facing personal difficulties.

Welcoming the award, Stewart Stevenson said:

“The Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution is a well-respected organisation which has a long and proud record of offering assistance to those who make their living from the land when times are hard.

“This funding will allow the charity to go forward and offer help and support to those who find themselves in adverse circumstances and I commend the RSABI for the work it does in assisting those in need.”

Commenting, First Minister Alex Salmond said:

"I am delighted to support Scottish farmers and those who work on the land in Scotland. Recent figures show that Scottish food and drink exports have increased by more than 50 per cent since 2007, to more than £5 billion. I recognise that the most important element in this success is the quality of the product that Scotland is able to market and this quality comes as a direct result of the skill, expertise and commitment of farmers and individuals across Scotland.

"Relying upon the land for your living is no easy task and I know that for some individuals the past year hasn't been easy due to circumstances outwith their control. Therefore I am pleased to announce a grant of £50,000 to be given to RSABI to help those who work on the land who have had to suffer misfortune and hardships over these past few years.

"Agriculture continues to be vital to the health, well-being and prosperity of Scotland and NFUS continues to be crucial to the success of agriculture. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the NFUS on its centenary and for doing a fantastic job in supporting Scottish Farmers."

Dr Maurice Hankey, Chief Executive of the RSABI, said:

"We are absolutely delighted that the Scottish Government recognises the plight faced by many of Scotland's farmers after the atrocious weather they have experienced over the past 12 months. Every day we are speaking to farmers who are facing difficulties, both on the farm and in their households. They are asking if we can help. This funding will enable RSABI to put more financial support into the homes of these farmers to help themselves and their families keep going until better conditions prevail. I would encourage any farmers who feel they are in crisis to get in touch with the charity to find out how we can help."

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