What is the Countrymen Club – and how can you join?
PUBLISHED: 22:53 07 September 2020 | UPDATED: 22:53 07 September 2020
The Countrymen Club provides a service to men who have worked in farming or who simply enjoy being outdoors as part of their leisure interests
Launched nearly eight years ago at Rylands Farm near Sherborne, The Countrymen Club provides a service to men who have worked in farming or who simply enjoy being outdoors as part of their leisure interests. The purpose of the club is to address rural isolation and to meet the needs of those with lifelong conditions who find it difficult to socialise and access the countryside.
The 30-acre working farm - with its cattle, sheep, pigs, donkeys, goats, poultry and rabbits - has lots of interesting projects on the go that can be tailored to the individual’s abilities, and we provide mobility scooters and disabled toilet facilities. There is a polytunnel for growing vegetables and an outdoor vegetable patch. Pre-coronavirus times local craftsmen would come and give demonstrations of their skills. Staff sometimes bring in mystery items for discussion and we also have quizzes and sing-a-longs.
The farm has a large barn where the Countrymen can take part in an array of activities including woodwork, pyrography, preparing food for the animals or they can simply relax and enjoy the company of like-minded men. The club also ensures that the partners and wives of our Countrymen are supported, and when the men are on the farm, they are able to have a few precious hours to themselves.
Throughout lockdown we strived to keep in touch with our members as much as possible. We have a regular newsletter; we post pictures from the farm on our Facebook page (Countrymen UK Dorset) and two of our volunteers even delivered homemade cakes to some of our members on their vintage tractors for VE Day!
We are now thankfully in a position to welcome very small groups back on site. Lockdown has made us realise just how much of a positive impact attending our club has on individuals and their families, and how vital the service is for their mental well-being. Just seeing the joyful reaction of the men as they return is humbling.
If you feel the club could benefit someone you know, please do contact us. We can then arrange a suitable time for you to visit us and have a look round.
Find out more at countrymenuk.org or call 01963 210703
Help support our work
As a registered charity we are always looking for funding, especially under the new restrictions where only very small groups can safely be allowed on site at any one time. If you could assist us with funding, provide support for our Countrymen or are interested in what the club may offer you or someone you know please do get in touch, call 01963 210703, email me direct: Jan@countrymenuk.org or write to Rylands farm, Boyshill, Holnest, near Sherborne DT9 5PS.