Rural youth organisation Macra na Feirme has announced a range of support measures to assist members and branches dealing with the impact of Covid-19.

These measures include a club reboot package, signposting members struggling with mental health to an online mental health charity, Turn2me, as well as incentives at county level to support activities.

Commenting, Macra na Feirme president Thomas Duffy said: “Participating in Macra na Feirme activities have for many members of the organisation provided an outlet for those struggling with isolation, loneliness and other mental health difficulties.”

Turn2me signposting

Noting that such activities have been heavily curtailed by Covid-19, the president said:

By signposting members struggling to, those members will be able to avail of the Turn2me’s suite of safe, secure and confidential online services such as 24/7 online clinically moderated peer support and information, counselling sessions online and online support groups on a wide range of mental health themes.

Duffy noted that such services complement Macra’s own efforts of the past 12-18 months such as the Tipperary-based initiative Make the Moove.

Make the Moove “is a peer-to-peer service, supported by Health Ireland Tipperary, for young farmers in Tipperary”, the president explained.

In outlining details of the Club reboot package, President Duffy said: “Over the next one to two weeks, club secretaries will receive a reboot care package for members in their own clubs.

“That package includes HSE [Health Service Executive] approved signage, a supply of hand sanitiser, and a selection of Macra branded facemasks to distribute free of charge.”

2,000 Azzurri masks

Macra na Feirme will distribute an initial quantity of 2,000 face masks to members around the country.

The masks, designed by Waterford company, Azzurri, are reusable, washable and meet the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) standards required for Covid-19 for social and workplace protection against Covid-19 in conjunction will all the other relevant public health advice of sanitising, cough etiquette and social distancing.

Macra na Feirme has also created a fund for county executives to access to support a return to activities around the country.

County grants

The development fund provides small grants to county executives to support requirements and additional measures needed to ensure Covid-19 compliance with existing or new events that encourage member engagement.

Continuing, Duffy said: “The Macra na Feirme board, finance committee, staff and management are acutely aware of the challenges that members, clubs and county executives are facing with Covid-19.

These measures have been designed with that in mind.

“Whether signposting to Turn2me, facemasks, or financial supports for county executives to support member engagement, our desire is to have as safe a return to activity in compliance with public health guidance as we can possibly have,” the president concluded.