Is the Agricultural Benevolent Trust helping farmers in need?

Farmer Tom Brummit, from Hill Top Farm, Greeba, digs sheep out of the snow

Farmer Tom Brummit, from Hill Top Farm, Greeba, digs sheep out of the snow

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Farmers affected by the snow in March are still questioning why the money raised or donated by the public has not been distributed evenly between all farmers.

The Isle of Man Agricultural Benevolent Trust (IOMABT) held a meeting last week after Peel commissioner Ian Davison and a couple of farmers, who did not want to be named, raised their concerns on why some affected farmers have not received a penny from the trust.

Chairman of the Isle of Man Agricultural Benevolent Trust, Graham Crowe, told the Manx Independent that what was discussed in the meeting is to remain confidential, but he did give an update on what the situation is at present.

Mr Crowe said: ‘We have had some really helpful referrals recently that clearly set out the details of the person or persons being referred, along with contact details and a short resume of the hardship experienced. This can be used to prioritise our approach and assistance where appropriate.’

At present the trust said it is acting on information it has received, particularly where hardship has been experienced.

‘We are in addition dealing with six other cases that are not connected to the snow, but are more general in nature relating to illness and hardship issues following the worst years’ weather in living memory. These will be dealt with utilising our reserves if necessary and not the ring fenced publicly subscribed funds associated with the snow,’ said Mr Crowe.

A concerned farmer said: ‘It’s more important now than ever that the farming community has a strong relationship with the public, with this in mind the money needs to be carefully managed and fairly distributed among those affected.’

Meanwhile, the IOMABT stated that on two occasions Peel commissioners had been in touch ‘to disassociate’ themselves from Mr Davison’s remarks and stated that they were very supportive of the trust and the way it has acted.

Peel Commissioners’ clerk Peter Leadley said he hadn’t contacted the trust on the board’s behalf.

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