Scam alert – Courier Fraud

62% of courier fraud victims were aged 75 – 89, so please pass this message on to anyone who might be vulnerable.

Recently, there has been an increase in courier fraud offences, in particular in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. These despicable crimes mostly impact upon vulnerable people within our communities, who are often convinced to hand over large amounts of money or expensive items such as designer watches.

What tends to happen is that the victim is cold called by the criminal who falsely claims to be a Police Officer, saying that there has been fraudulent use of their bank card/account.

They are advised that they need to withdraw large sums of money from their bank to protect it, and then return home. They are told that a “Police Officer” will come round and collect the money to keep it safe.

Often they are advised to ring 999 to report to the local police. The line is kept open and a different offender will persuade them to withdraw their money ready for collection.

  • If you are suspicious or feel uncomfortable with the caller’s questions, end the call.
  • If in doubt hang up, wait 10 minutes, then report the call to Action Fraud on 0300 1232040.
  • Report it to the police 101 if the crime is still happening and the suspect is in the local area, or if you are vulnerable and/or unable to contact Action Fraud.
  • Do not part with any of your personal information, bank cards, money or valuables.

• Phone and ask you for your full PIN or full banking password
• Ask you to transfer money out of your account
• Ask you to hand over any money or purchase vouchers
• Send someone to collect cash, PIN’s, cards or cheque books

For Crime Prevention advice contact:
Paul Crumpton, Rural & Business Crime Officer (Crime Prevention) HEREFORDSHIRE, West Mercia Police
Email:    Tel: 07773 044781

Free Farmbench Program


HELP from DJM Consulting to get you set up on the FREE Farmbench programme!*


Free, easy to use, online tool by AHDB to help you to interpret your enterprise data:

  • Help identify business strengths and weaknesses
  • Anonymously compare data with other similar farm businesses

Group reports and feedback/discussion breakfast groups hosted by DJMC


Make evidence-based informed decisions to:

  • Improve business performance and profitability
  • Measure – change – analyse
  • Protect your business against market volatility

Create a plan to future proof your business

The service predominantly covering the five counties of the West Midlands has a limited budget for the 2019 harvest year– so register now to secure your place!

For further information, and to REGISTER please contact

Marie Charles at DJM Consulting

01746 785121

*To be eligible you must grow at least 1 ha of a combinable crop in 2019 and must not have entered or submitted for validation, data for harvest 2018


Farming charity R.A.B.I has released money from its Crisis Fund to provide emergency grants to families affected by flooding.

The 159-year-old charity is working closely with other farming organisations to make help available quickly to people who need it. By simplifying their criteria and application processes, R.A.B.I is also fast-tracking grants of up to £3,000.

Even though it might have stopped raining and river water levels have fallen, the damage caused by flooding this autumn will take people months, even years, to fully recover from. Dealing with the aftermath of flooding can be both expensive and stressful and R.A.B.I stands ready to help long after the waters have subsided; when the true costs of the clean-up have been calculated and the impact of losing crops, livestock and bedding properly assessed.

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I) is the agricultural sector’s oldest and largest charity, offering support, practical care and guidance to farming people of all ages.

To apply for assistance, call R.A.B.I’s confidential Freephone Helpline 0808 281 9490.

If you don’t need it, donate it…

The Herefordshire Community Foundation has launched its Surviving Winter campaign to help local people survive the coldest season. It is keen to help as many people, and the organisations they rely on in the winter, as possible.   The campaign originally began as a vehicle for generous pensioners to ‘recycle’ their Winter Fuel payments and has now developed into a giving portal for anyone who wants to help support vulnerable people live well during the winter.

The cost to the NHS in Herefordshire owing to cold homes is considerable..  Research from the national charity Age UK suggested that the cost of cold homes to the NHS in England and Wales is £1.36 billion a year.  The figure does not include the cost to other services which much be significant.  Considering this national figure, any activity to reduce fuel poverty and its associated effects in Herefordshire is likely to lead to consequential reductions in local health spend, GP referrals and hospital admissions.

Philippa Spens, CEO of the Community Foundation, said, “This fund is vital, community foundations are one of the few organisations that help with responsive, crisis payments, when people really have nowhere else to turn and are desperate for help.” 

A recent recipient of a grant wrote, “What the Herefordshire Community Foundation have done for me is so much more than provide me with heating, you have made me feel that I matter and that is priceless.

Winter Fuel Allowance payments are made in November and December to all pensioners across the UK and is not means tested. If you don’t need yours you can donate it to the Community Foundation and they will help those less fortunate.  There isn’t any way to simply divert the payment. Instead, the Foundation is asking for a donation of some or all of the benefit you receive. Even if you don’t qualify for the benefit you can send money. 

To donate electronically use reference Surviving Winter, Sort Code: 40-52-40 Account No: 00021470 
online at
you can post a cheque made out to the Herefordshire Community Foundation, The Fred Bulmer Centre, Wall Street, Hereford HR4 9HP.
to give £10 you can text WARM 10 to 
70085This costs £10 pus your standard rate message.  

Creating a Healthier Happier Herefordshire January 2018 to 2020

The Vision

The citizens of Herefordshire are blessed to live in a beautiful County with immense Social, Natural and Human capital. However, there is significant poverty and hardship. It is a rural and sparsely populated County with the commensurate fiscal challenges like Cumbria, Cornwall and Lincolnshire – we don’t fit the national blueprint. It is an agricultural County awaiting the impact of Brexit and already experiencing challenges of the UK Farming sector and a shortage of immigrant workforce. We are all agreed on and are working towards, a better future for Herefordshire.

The Network, Social Movements and Alliances

Our events have been attended, contributed to and presented at, by representatives and activists from many sectors e.g. Health; Social Care; Local Authority; Civic; Civil; Voluntary, Community, Agriculture; Faith, The Diocese; Business; Education; Media; Technology; Arts and Culture; Tourism. A collective voice and energy with a reach of 120,000 in a County population of 185,000

“We are part of the national and global movement for social justice. Challenging the economic model that counts growth in numbers rather than people’s wellbeing, means building movements for change with workers, faith leaders, artists and activists.” Oxfam November 2019

 A series of extraordinary events:

  1. The future of Health and Care (Sustainability, the challenge now and of the 21st century) January 2018.

A local conversation reflecting that needed at National level about how a tax funded service can meet the exponential increase in need, demand and expectations of the 21st Century, when only 57% of the population pay tax. A General Election is approaching and there are proposals for unparalleled public sector investment in 2020, but there has also been an expert report ( demonstrating that no amount of possible investment will be enough.

  1. Joined up doing (Reflecting the many parallel initiatives) April 2018

Against the backdrop of insufficient funding it was exasperating to find the many well-meaning initiatives delivered by great people but in isolation or parallel to others. This meeting began the improved connectivity across the County and our different sectors.

  1. How can we work better together to create change? (acting on cross sector connectivity) September 2018

A series of presentations of key initiatives across Herefordshire to raise awareness across the County and Sectors. Improving connectivity, raising awareness, amplifying voices. Growing our tribe.

  1. Arts on prescription; Social prescribing; Time banking (Supporting a new initiative from the NHS and a City of Culture initiative in Herefordshire) December 2018

Artists and artisans are a significant small business sector in our rural economy and an opportunity for business diversification in our farming communities

Improving connectivity, raising awareness of the role of Arts, Culture and Non-medical solutions in Health and Well-being.

We had now produced two blogs with a reach beyond our estimated network reach of 120,000 residents.

“Development is about power – who has it – advocacy will only succeed at scale when the collective power of ordinary people is strengthened through the building of social movements and alliances. The transformational change can happen, and has, repeatedly over history.” Oxfam November 2019

  1. Visioning (what is our Vision for Herefordshire in the 21st Century) March 2019

Following the High Sherriff’s event on Social Care (with thanks), CHHH convened a meeting to agree a vision for Herefordshire. Our network will arrange an event(s) for greater citizen engagement, committed to a better future for Herefordshire. The Council, meanwhile, is revisiting its Health and Wellbeing Vision.

Next steps agreed:

  • To keep meeting.
  • To pursue and share models of good practice from elsewhere.
  • To follow up actions and partners from previous events unable to attend this event.

(Thank you to Herefordshire Rural Hub for agreeing to host our social Movement on their website from November 2019)

  1. Food, sustainability and health (An agricultural and food producing County, Food and healthy weight, Food and Brexit. The development of community hubs – an international study) May 2019

This was the first of a series of two events to engage with international research. It was well attended by citizens from Extinction Rebellion and the Brightspace Charity and the Herefordshire Diocese are progressing important work in the County. The Council has subsequently declared a Climate Change Emergency.

  1. Housing (a National and Herefordshire crisis – solutions) September 2019

Presentations from the Herefordshire Community Land Trust and from the Diocese of Herefordshire on the challenge within Herefordshire. The national crisis in housing is multiplied in rural locations. The Council are revisiting their Housing Strategy and there is ongoing engagement. 2019 coincided with the 100-year anniversary of social housing, George Clarkes council housing initiative and a step change in public debate.

Our next event will focus on trees and the environment, there will be a subsequent event on transport and its impact on Health and Wellbeing. Citizen Assemblies/ a Big Conversation(s) are anticipated in Herefordshire soon.

Slurry storage and spreading in times of high rainfall (2019) – Advice and Guidance for Farmers – West Midlands

Notice from the Environment Agency:-   

We are aware that with recent wet weather some farms are concerned about their slurry storage capacity and whether this will be sufficient until the end of the NVZ closed period or until land is suitable for spreading.  We have put this guide together to help you look at your options. The Environment Agency will work with you to find an outcome which poses the lowest environmental risk. Whilst we wish to avoid pollution and soil damage through spreading we also wish to avoid situations where slurry stores overspill and become sources of pollution too. If you are concerned we urge you to contact your local Environment Officer at the earliest opportunity.

Closed Periods

Farms that are situated within an NVZ are limited by closed periods that restrict the spreading of slurry onto fields. These closed periods are in place to protect the rivers and groundwater from losses of nitrate during the winter months when crop uptake is low and rainfall is high. High nitrate in water can affect drinking water safety and aquatic habitats and species.

These closed periods are set out in law and application of slurry to land during these times is be an offence.

As a regulatory body, the Environment Agency must operate within the boundaries set by the regulatory system. We do not have the capacity to change legal requirements for individuals or organisations and we cannot give permission for an operator to spread in the closed period. However, our enforcement response may be influenced by any mitigation measures that have been taken.

If your slurry store is approaching full and the land is unsuitable for safely receiving slurry, or it will breach an NVZ condition we would expect you to consider the following options, and any other measures that you may be able to take.

Reducing the amount of slurry you produce

During exceptional weather you should reduce the amount of slurry (including lightly fouled water) you produce. You should consider and implement the following where possible:

  • wash dairy parlours down with a low volume hose system (0.6 cubic metres per cow per month or 20 litres per cow per day)
  • remove excess dung with a brush or squeegee before hosing down to reduce the amount of wash water you need to use
  • keep animals on straw to produce solid manure rather than slurry
  • divert uncontaminated surface water away from dirty yards
  • keep or move livestock onto the smallest yard area necessary
  • install, maintain or repair gutters and downpipes, especially on roofs that drain onto dirty yards
  • consider covering exposed fouled yard areas

Temporary slurry storage

You must normally comply with SSAFO rules to store slurry.

However, the Environment Agency will waive the full SSAFO requirements if you want to store slurry for less than 12 months. You must only consider temporary storage where existing facilities are inadequate.

Temporary storage could include:

  • reinstating disused stores
  • reclaiming tanks
  • new tanks
  • earth bank lagoons
  • lined lagoons
  • slurry bags

To keep slurry in a temporary store you must:

  • check planning requirements with your local planning authority
  • contact the Environment Agency before construction
  • agree each individual location with the Environment Agency
  • install tanks, liners and slurry bags to manufacturer’s instructions
  • make sure the base of earth bank lagoons is above the water table – there should be at least one metre of clay subsoil beneath the proposed base
  • use a trial pit to confirm the depth of the clay layer – the resulting hole must be backfilled and puddled in
  • use liners where there is doubt about soil permeability – lower grade liners should suffice for temporary storage but use high grade liners in high risk areas
  • monitor it to make sure there are no leaks
  • locate it at least 10 metres from watercourses and land drains – use temporary trial trenches if you’re unsure about the presence of land drains
  • locate it at least 50 metres from groundwater sources
  • de-commission it as soon as it’s no longer needed

If you’re using shared facilities you must:

  • consider any biosecurity risks
  • agree management arrangements
  • agree where responsibility lies

For more information about storing slurry see CIRIA: Livestock manure and silage storage infrastructure for agriculture.


Other options for storage or treatment

You could explore alternative destinations for your slurry such as neighbouring farms, sewage treatment works or anaerobic digesters.

Spreading to low run-off risk land

If you need to spread to land we would require the following:

You must spread slurry:

  • thinly and widely
  • at an application rate not exceeding 20 m3 per hectare – you must use a lower application rate if run-off could enter surface water

You must only spread slurry on land with low run-off risk.

Low run-off risk land:

  • has an average slope of less than 3 degrees
  • does not have land drains other than sealed impermeable pipes
  • has not been pipe drained, mole drained or sub-soiled in the last 12 months
  • does not have a shallow soil less than 30cm above fissured rock
  • has a sufficient depth and suitable type of soil above groundwater to prevent pollution
  • is not within a designated groundwater source protection zone 1
  • is at least 50 metres from surface water or a conduit leading to surface water
  • is at least 50 metres from springs, wells and boreholes where groundwater is used for human consumption
  • does not have compacted soil or a soil surface which is capped – you can only spread where the soil is permeable and has a good structure
  • does not have cracked soil above a land drainage system or groundwater

When the Environment Agency may not take enforcement action

When exceptional weather stops you being able to comply with legislation and guidance, spreading to land may be your only viable option. If you spread slurry and milk during exceptional weather without causing pollution, the Environment Agency may decide not to take enforcement action.

You must:

  • contact the Environment Agency before you spread any slurry to land
  • agree with them that spreading is the only option available
  • only spread the amount of slurry you need to reduce the risk of pollution
  • carry out spreading at a rate of ≤ 20m3 per hectare and on the lowest risk land available – you may be able to export the slurry to neighbouring farms
  • carry out regular checks before, during and after spreading to ensure there is no pollution taking place

You are still responsible for any pollution that you cause.

You should also be aware that breaching an NVZ condition or causing damage to soil may also be a breach of cross compliance rules and may affect your Basic Farm Payment.

Next steps

If you are concerned please contact your local agricultural officer. We will ask you how you have considered these contingency options and we may ask to see the risk map of your farm identifying any low risk land which meets the criteria above. You will also be required to keep records of any spreading that takes place.

We wish to support you in ensuring that your business is resilient in coping with weather conditions and we will be able to offer you further advice on this to help prevent a reoccurrence in future.


Contact Details

Environment Agency National Contact Centre:  03708 506 506


Midlands Senior Agricultural Officers:

Sharon Chisholm: 020302 51692   (Shropshire, Hereford, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire)

Helen Cripps: 020302 51627  (Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands)

Finding a safe place to talk – Marches Counselling Service

This year the National Network of Young Farmers Clubs launched the Rural + Campaign to highlight the impact of isolation on mental wellbeing.  Mental health has become a significant area of concern amongst young adults & within services that seek to support them.

At Marches Counselling Service we are aware of how distressing life can be. There are many pressures and even the strongest among us can feel overwhelmed at times. Because it can be difficult to ask for help, we often carry on past a point where we are looking after ourselves properly, even to the point at which we begin to question whether our life is worthwhile.

Social isolation can make this more likely, as does having either too much or too little time for ourselves.

It is understandable that young people find reaching out difficult. At a time when we are wanting to make our own way in the world it can seem like it is a step backwards; but having help to understand why we feel the way we do, and developing the skills to handle the difficulties which life can throw at us, has always been part of making our way.

MCS was set up to be a grassroots counselling charity, responding to the needs of the local community whist aware of national trends and concerns. We have become an established service, but know we do not always reach the people who face some of the most difficult challenges. This has led to us setting up a focus group tasked with reaching young people. We are looking for opportunities to talk with them about their emotional experience and the kind of support they would find most useful. Too often what is offered is dictated by the assumptions and expectations of others. We want to create an advisory group to help us ensure that the voice of young people is at the centre of what we provide for them and how we provide it.

As a young person from the farming community, a sector where stresses have accumulated over recent years, we would like to hear from you, particularly if you or people close to you have been affected in some way by these issues. It could be that you would be willing to talk to us about what this topic raises for you. Or you might want to put yourself forward to join the advisory group & help us shape what we offer. Or you might have other ideas about how we can gather views from the community.

If you are interested in being involved please contact Jnanamati or Jennifer at MCS

Email:, Phone: 01432 279906 

RDPE Growth Programme open for new applications

The Business Development, Food Processing and Rural Tourism Infrastructure grants are now open to new applications. You must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form before midnight on 16th February 2020.   

You could be eligible for a Growth Programme grant if your business is carrying out a project to create jobs or bring more money into the rural economy.

There are 3 types of grant:

• Business development
• Food processing
• Rural tourism infrastructure

For full details and guidance go to

The RPA will be at the Herefordshire RURAL BUSINESS ADVICE DAY on 20th November – so come along and find out if you are eligible and get advice on how to apply.

Details of further workshops in Herefordshire:-   

To be held at the Marches Growth Hub, Hereford Business Solutions Centre, Skylon Court, Rotherwas, Hereford

Tuesday 10th December, 2019 10.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. Click HERE to book

Monday 13th January, 2020 2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m.  Click HERE to book

Workshops can be followed by a limited amount of 1-2-1, depending on time.