Last Saturday I was reconnecting with my family during a wonderful day at the 2019 Royal Bath and West Show. What a great way to start the month!
We got the opportunity to spend the afternoon exploring the vast showground and experience the many sights, sounds and smells that an agricultural show has to offer. We could get up close to so many different breeds of farm animals and see how our food and drinks are made (then enjoy the delights of tasting the cheeses, ciders and other local foods being handed out!).
What made it really special was to spend quality time with my husband. Our work and family lives are so busy that we don’t take enough quality time out to just hang out very often.
Connecting with the community
His memories of attending the show are much different to mine. His parents were farmers and the show was an integral part of the family calendar. It was their way to promote their business and connect with their community.
He used to run around the show as a boy eating ice cream while his parents stopped and chatted to all the people they knew. He even sneaked off to sip samples of cider when they weren’t looking! Then, in his teen years, he used to work on the family stall looking after the livestock and help his parents connect with potential customers.
An isolating profession
Farming can be a really isolating profession and, for some people, events like these are one of the rare times they get to socialise with people who understand their work and passions, whilst sharing the challenges too.
Connect and support
One organisation looking to help out is the Farming Community Network (FCN) who had a stand at the show. The FCN are a voluntary organisation and charity that supports farmers and families within the farming community through difficult times. They have a network of over 400 volunteers across England and Wales, who travel over 130,000 miles connecting with over 6,000 people a year to provide practical and pastoral support to the farming community for a range of issues like mental health, financial matters and loneliness.
So, seeing beyond the spectacular displays, the rosettes and the endless rows of stalls promoting their wares there is a more human side to shows like this. We all need to feel like we belong, in our families and in our communities. But unless we take time to allow those connections to form and grow, or get the right support to do so, we can quickly lose touch and lose the security that belonging provides us with.
We witnessed the benefits of these connections first-hand from many of the people taking part in the four days of celebrating our food and farming industries.
Connecting with you
So I have a question for you:
How do we create that sense of belonging in our own workplaces?
Even in an open plan office we can feel isolated or not connected with our co-workers. Many more people are working offsite, self-employed or on zero-hours contracts so they have limited opportunities to connect with anyone they work with. We need to find ways to help more people feel connected and valued at work.
I’d love to hear your suggestions, add them here or in the comments box below.