The rural location and the nature of their work means many in the industry are short of time for visiting GP surgeries and the new scheme is aimed at making it easier for them to monitor issues.
They will get the opportunity to get their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels measured twice a month by a registered nurse at a convenient location for them.
The initiative is the result of a link up between the Farming Community Network (FCN) and Lincolnshire Rural Support Network (LRSN), which both support individuals and families in the farm sector.
Andrea Beddows, midlands regional support officer for the FCN, said: “Farmers are not always good at caring for their own wellbeing, so it will hopefully be welcomed whilst also enabling FCN to raise awareness about our other support services.”
The scheme, which starts on Tuesday April 12, will be a drop-in service in the mornings at the FCN office, which is next to the NFU market office at Melton market.
In addition to providing health screenings both charities will be on-hand to support members of the farming community through any issues or concerns they may have.
FCN provides practical and pastoral support to the farming community and has over 400 volunteers throughout England and Wales, including a local group in Leicestershire and Rutland.
Dr Jude McCann, chief executive officer of FCN, commented: “We hope our united presence at Melton Mowbray Market and the free health check-ups provided by registered nurses will encourage us all to take time out to get ourselves checked, look out for our heath and the health of those around us.”
The launch of the Melton sessions follows the success of similar ventures organised by LRSN at Louth Cattle Market and Spalding Auction.
Amy Thomas, head of charity with LRSN, explained: “We recognise that the routes through which farmers might seek help are varied and very often indirect, and at LRSN we have found that through our nurses having a regular presence at local markets we are able to reach out and offer essential health screening and advice – I would encourage anyone who attends Melton Mowbray Market to pop in and say hello to Nurse Heather and to get checked out.”
Sarah Procter, senior agent with NFU Mutual, which is also helping fund the health checks, said: “We at the National Farmers’ Union in Melton Mowbray are thrilled to know that the money we donated to FCN will be used towards a very welcome and important service.
“Having access to a nurse at the market where farmers can call in for blood checks and a chat is a fantastic service which will be extremely valuable.”
The market health hub will be operating on April 12 and 27; May 10 and 25; June 7 and 21; July 6 and 20; August 9 and 24; plus September 6 and 21.
***FCN runs a confidential national helpline (03000 111 999) open 7am-11pm every day of the year, as well as an e-Helpline ([email protected]).
***LRSN runs a confidential helpline (0800 138 1710) open 8am-8pm open every day of the year, alongside an established health screening service run at local markets and via a new mobile health screening unit the LRSN Health Hut.
LRSN’s nursing team also offers an online health and wellbeing clinic Click Book Chat, where an appointment can be booked via the LRSN website https://www.lrsn.co.uk/health-hub/digital-wellbeing-clinic/