Shirley Hastings will join the RSABI team covering the Highlands and Islands.
Scottish agricultural charity RSABI has announced the appointment of Shirley Hastings as its new case officer for the Highlands and Islands.
The charity, which provides financial, practical, and emotional support to those involved in Scottish agriculture, received a remarkable 649 applications for the role, developed in response to growing demand for the charity’s services.
Shirley will play a key role in RSABI’s welfare team, delivering a wide range of services and also serving as a member of the team responding to calls to the charity’s 24-hour freephone Helpline.
She will also engage with local organisations and stakeholders to increase awareness of the support RSABI offers, while staying closely connected to the issues people in agriculture are facing in the region.
Shirley joins RSABI with a decade of experience working for Police Scotland, including five years serving as a front-line Detective Constable within the Public Protection Unit and overseeing Fort William’s first Public Protection Unit.
Her experience of a wide range of welfare issues will be valuable for her role, along with her background in farming, having grown up on a family farm in Dumfries and Galloway.
She said: “I am delighted to be joining RSABI and looking forward to playing my part in the team which is carrying out incredibly important work for the agricultural community and providing essential support to farmers, crofters and others working in the industry.
“I have been brought up on a farm myself and having worked with communities in rural areas throughout my career, I am passionate about the success of the agriculture industry and I’m looking forward to assisting RSABI and their vital welfare initiatives.”
Chris McVey, welfare manager at RSABI, said Shirley’s application had stood out among the other 649 applications the charity received.
He added: “During recent months calls to our Helpline have increased substantially, with the vast majority of our workload involving emotional support and demand for the counselling services we offer continuing to increase, having trebled in the past year.
“It is essential, therefore, that we have the staff in place to meet demand and we are delighted to extend a very warm welcome to Shirley who brings an excellent range of skills and experience to our hardworking welfare team.”