The Farming Minister Mark Spencer has driven a tractor around Parliament Square into the Houses of Parliament to help raise awareness of mental health in farming and rural communities.
The trip around Westminster marks just one segment of the Len’s Light Tractor Relay – which is covering over 2,000 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End – to shine a spotlight on how mental health can affect those in rural communities and help break down stigma surrounding mental health in the farming sector.
Len’s Light was launched in June this year by Lynda and Andy Eadon in memory of their son Len Eadon who took his own life in January 2022, and is working with the Farming Community Network, Farm Safety Foundation (Yellow Wellies) and Papyrus to raise awareness and funds to support farmers’ mental health.
The relay comes as the Farm Safety Foundation recently surveyed 450 UK farmers under the age of 40 and found that 94% of them agreed poor mental health is one of the biggest hidden problems facing the industry today – up from 84% three years ago.
Farming Minister Mark Spencer said: “It’s hugely important that we raise awareness of the mental health impacts in farming and rural communities and I’d like to pay tribute to all those charities and individuals, including Lynda and Andy, who are working tirelessly to bring this to light.
“I’m honoured to have played even just a small part in this goal by getting behind the wheel today, and will continue to do all I can to ensure farmers can access the support they need, including through our Future Farming Resilience Fund and ongoing work with charities such as Yellow Wellies.”