Alumna, Olivia Meredith and Caryss Pickavance are walking the 102-mile-long Cotswold Way on April 12, in aid of the Farming Community Network.
Olivia, who graduated in July 2021 and Caryss, who graduated the year before in 2020, studied BSc (Hons) Rural Enterprise and Land Management at Harper Adams University and now both work for Carter Jonas LLP.
Caryss said: “We have both worked hard following graduating Harper and have become Chartered Surveyors and Fellows of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuer’s.
“Following our studies, Olivia and I wanted to focus our time and energy on raising awareness of mental health in the agricultural sector in aid of the Farming Community Network. We have set the campaign of ‘Let’s Get Talking and Walking’ to encourage others to do the same!”
FCN is a voluntary organisation and charity that support farmers and families within the farming community through difficult times. FCN have over 400 volunteers across England and Wales and help thousands of people that deal with a variety of issues, including financial difficulties, animal disease, mental health and family disputes.
In 2022, Olivia set up an Instagram page called Let’s Get Talking to raise awareness of mental health and the charities out there to help those in need, and to encourage others to get talking.
Olivia said: “The aim of my page is to raise awareness of mental health issues, signpost people to the charities which are out there to help and brighten up people's Instagram feeds with motivational messages.
“I set this up to support my friends through a difficult time and since then it has grown and has really shown that in the rural community this is a topic that needs addressing more so than ever. It really is so important that we all feel more able to openly talk about mental health to one another, so let's get talking!”
She added: “Harper really was four of the best years, I made friends for life and memories that will last a lifetime, as well as the all-important learning! From studying REALM at Harper Adams, this opened up the opportunity to pursue a career as a Rural Surveyor.
“The skills I learnt whilst at university and during my placement year definitely helped me to be able to achieve both of these qualifications simultaneously.”
And Caryss added: “Since making the decision to go to Harper Adams University, a number of doors have opened including both career prospects and the opportunity to meet a network of people within the agricultural sector.
“The connections I have made during my time at Harper will last a lifetime and I will be forever grateful for my time at this brilliant university; going to Harper and meeting people along the way has allowed me to become the person I am today.
“From studying REALM at Harper Adams and working for Carter Jonas, I have gained the confidence and skillset to achieve becoming both a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Fellow of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers.”