Eight Family and Business (FaB) Support mentors have been appointed across drought-affected areas of upper Eyre Peninsula, Murray-Mallee, mid and Upper North, and the pastoral areas.
South Australian farmers, their families and regional businesses impacted by drought are being encouraged to reach out and have a speak with the mentors.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the FaB Support mentors have a variety of regional business and agricultural backgrounds – and will provide a confidential, independent and understanding ear to those wanting to talk through problems.
“Each member is experienced in discussing and addressing the array of difficult issues that come about as a result of drought,” said Minister Whetstone.
“These mentors are well-known people in their communities and are able to identify farmers who are crying out for help but reluctant to admit they need it.
“They are available to meet, listen and, if needed, connect people to appropriate services and programs, often travelling down a farming family’s driveway or meeting them around the kitchen table or in the shed.
”The program will work closely with other service providers such as Rural Business Support which delivers the Rural Financial Counselling service in South Australia and local health networks. The mentors can connect people to these services as required.
“The FaB support program is critical in addressing a support gap, which I envisage will save lives, relationships and families.”
The mentors will also be able to make an important connection to technical advice, drought assistance and other support measures available through government, non-government, community and donors.
The team will respond to direct requests for help from people or from others concerned about the wellbeing of a family member, friend, neighbour or client.
The program is modelled on the successful FaB Scout program deployed during the Millennium Drought in 2009/10.