A rural mental health charity has been honoured by the Farmers’ Union of Wales with its external award for services to agriculture.

Tir Dewi was founded by the Venerable Eileen Davies, Archdeacon of Cardigan and Bishop Wyn (now retired) in 2015, as she recognised the growing and serious need to help farmers who were experiencing difficult times.

With generous funding from the Church in Wales (diocese of St David’s) and the Prince’s Countryside Fund, Eileen was able to establish Tir Dewi as a valuable helpline and support service either by phone or-where appropriate-on-farm, for farmers in west Wales.

From its small beginnings, when Eileen would hand out information leaflets to the local farming community, the charity has grown beyond expectations.

Tir Dewi has actively helped hundreds of farmers and their families who were, in one way or another, struggling to cope. Today, farmers in need throughout Wales can access the services of Tir Dewi.

Presenting the award at the President’s reception during the Royal Welsh Show recently, FUW president Glyn Roberts said: “Farming is our passion and for us it is more than a job - it’s our way of life. But as much as we love working the land, raising the animals and producing nutritious, healthy food for the nation, it comes with many challenges and struggles.

"It can be a lonely place out there and when you are dealing with the elements, hot or cold, wet and windy, and the jobs pile up on you, it can all be a bit much and become a struggle - mentally and physically. It is therefore a comfort to know that charities like Tir Dewi are available to help our farming community and guide them through difficult times. For this we thank them here tonight at the Royal Welsh Show.”

Accepting the award, the Venerable Eileen Davies said: “The last seven years has taken a huge effort to recruit and develop a team of staff and volunteers who can respond to and meet the demand for support from our farming communities.

"They have provided support on over 500 farms, helping around 2,000 individuals with a huge range of issues.

"We are very proud of our team and the work that they do, and to have FUW recognise their work through this prestigious award is overwhelming – it confirms that Welsh farmers and their families truly value our work and gives us the encouragement we need to prepare to face what will surely be much greater demand in the next couple of years in light of the challenges that are coming.”