‘Rural SWAT’ supporting wellbeing

If you are at a rural event, a social gathering, a workshop or even a game of golf in Southland or South Otago, there might just be someone there from the Rural Southern Wellness Activity Team (Rural SWAT).

The group was formed about four months ago, and its members include representatives from many of the agricultural-related organisations and businesses in South Otago and Southland, including AgProud NZ, the Southland Rural Support Trust, Dairy Women’s Network, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ.

Rural SWAT spokeswoman Olivia Ross said it was started because of the need to help connect and support farmers and their families and to ‘‘grow mental wealth for long term resilience’’.

She said the group’s purpose was to provide support for farmers all the time — not just during adverse events.

Rural SWAT collaborates with other rural volunteer groups to help and provide assistance at events that range from barbecues run by companies or organisations to encourage farmers to have time off the farm and connect with their neighbours, to workshops.

‘‘If we are able we can help in whatever form is needed.’’

As an example, the Dairy Women’s Network and the Drummond Golf Club will be holding a golfing day on December 5 for dairying women to learn to play the sport and then play a few rounds.

Rural SWAT will be there.

The Good Programmes Trust ran some GoodYarn workshops for rural professionals in Gore and Invercargill recently. Rural SWAT was there, too.

‘‘They were great, well worthwhile’’ Ms Ross said.

AgProud NZ is bringing wellness coach Lance Burdett to workshops in Gore on December 5 and Balclutha on December 6, and Rural SWAT will also attend.

She said the group’s focus was on mental or farmer wellbeing, or mental wealth.

‘‘We want people to know we have got their backs,’’ she said.

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