Do you love the freedom of being onya bike, being on a journey peddling to wherever you want to go? Have you thought about combining your love of bike riding with supporting someone in need – but don’t have time to go on one of those long charity rides?

Then Rural Aid has the answer for you. This September, we want you to get onya bike and spend up to an hour a day riding (or spin biking) and be part of the Australia-wide Beach 2 Bush Ride, to raise funds for qualified mental health counsellors for our farmers and rural communities.

Not a cyclist? Not a problem. If walking or running is your thing, you can still participate. Rural Aid CEO Charles Alder said many of us living in a thriving city environment can find it difficult to comprehend the extent of the drought.

“However, the realities of the harsh Australian conditions and natural disasters are devastating for our farmers and rural communities on many levels,” Charles Alder said. “The goal of this September’s Beach 2 Bush Ride is to raise $150,000 to place one new counsellor in rural Australia to offer vital professional mental health support to drought-affected farmers and their families.”

About counselling support for farming families:

Rural Aid counsellor, Zoe Cox said there has never been as much demand for counselling support for farmers and rural communities as there is now.

“Many farmers are up to hundreds of kilometres from the closest doctor or counselling service and find themselves in a place where they feel helpless and alone,” Zoe said.

“Throughout Australia, isolation, loneliness, depression, suicide and mental health rates are all climbing. These rates are even higher in regional and rural areas, due to remoteness and the stresses on farmers as a result of devastating experiences.

“Rural Aid qualified counsellors help reduce some of that isolation by visiting the farmers and their families where they live.”

Rural Aid nationally qualified counsellors visit farmers and rural communities and live within their communities for a minimum of three years at a time to help build a holistic approach to community support.