R.A.B.I – the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution – is agriculture’s oldest and largest charity, providing welfare advice, practical care and financial support to farming people in need.
Although R.A.B.I is a charity, most of the people it helps really aren’t ‘charity cases’. They’re farmers, farmworkers, wives, widows and dependants, of all ages, who’ve invariably given more to the farming sector than they’ve ever taken.
Support is tailored to suit individual need with staff building personal relationships and regularly liaising with other groups and agencies on someone’s behalf. Putting plans of action together with those who are seeking help is all part of finding the best way forward.
The charity’s patron is HM The Queen and the president is HRH The Duke of Gloucester. The organisation is governed by a council of 12 voluntary trustees whose role and remit is set out in By-Laws and a Royal Charter. Trustees have overall responsibility for decision-making, but day to day work is carried out by a team of full and part-time staff, led by CEO Alicia Chivers. R.A.B.I’s administrative office is in Oxford but many staff, particularly regional managers and welfare officers, are based across England and Wales.
Year on year, more and more working people are turning to R.A.B.I for help and their problems are rarely of their own making. Extreme weather, physical and mental illness, accidents, animal disease, family issues, personal debt, housing issues and cash flow concerns are just some of the reasons why people seek the charity’s help. Farming can be a volatile business with many factors beyond the farmer’s control. Often, problems can quickly escalate but sometimes all it takes is a small amount of assistance at the right time to get things back on track.
Support for the sick, elderly and disabled is provided in various ways. This includes regular living allowances, funding for disability equipment, paying home help costs or contributing to care home
top-up fees. The charity owns and runs two residential care homes – Beaufort House in Burnham-on-Sea and Manson House in Bury St Edmunds – primarily for former farmers and farmworkers. Dependants can also qualify for assistance, including widows and widowers. The trustees retain the discretion to help people at all times.
R.A.B.I’s work is funded by income from legacies and investments, public donations and money raised at events arranged by county committees, regional managers, businesses and community groups. The charity has more than 50 county committees who work at a grass roots level to raise both funds and awareness. Committees, and the hundreds of dedicated volunteers who serve on them, are the lifeblood of R.A.B.I.
- To request help from R.A.B.I call the Freephone Helpline number 0808 281 9490
- To join a county committee and get involved in fundraising work call 01865 724931
- Visit the R.A.B.I website