By Debbie James

A young farmer who devotes a day a week to manning the helpline of a Pembrokeshire mental health support charity is opening her family’s farm to the public this month to raise funds to deliver health care in livestock marts in west Wales.

Twenty-two-year-old Hannah Lawrence volunteers for the DPJ Foundation, established by Emma Picton-Jones after her husband, Daniel, an agricultural contractor, committed suicide.

Hannah became involved after working as an AI technician during the milk price crash and seeing first-hand how this was impacting on the mental health of farmers.

“They opened up about how difficult everything was, it made me feel connected to them and I wanted to give something back,’’ recalls Hannah, who farms with her grandparents and brothers at Great Hares Head, a dairy, beef and sheep farm near Crundale.

She did this by volunteering for the DPJ Foundation, taking calls from farmers and others working in the agriculture sector.

“I man the helpline for 12 hours a week, calls to the helpline are transferred to my phone. I might be working on the farm when a call comes through but I just stop what I am doing and take the call,’’ she explains.

The DPJ Foundation currently provides counselling for the agricultural sector and mental health awareness training but is now developing a project based around providing health care to the agricultural sector in marts in West Wales.

As part of the fundraising campaign, Hannah is holding at open farm event on Saturday, August 4, between 10am and 4pm.

“We will have a range of stalls, demonstrations and talks, and suppliers will be available who can promote their sector or business to the community,’’ Hannah explains.

“We aim to raise awareness of our Health Hub project as well as the work we currently undertake in the community. It is also imperative that people are educated about the innovative farming sector. We see the open day as a fantastic opportunity to do this.’’

An admission fee of £5 for adults and £2.50 for children over the age of five will be donated to the charity.