Rural charity RSABI has been gifted an estate, worth an estimated £3 million, in the legacy of Marykirk farmer Sheila Erskine.
The charity, which supports people in Scottish agriculture, was left the estate by Ms Erskine with her wish to help the farming community. The estate includes Forebank of Canterland Farm.
“We’re all very moved by Sheila’s generosity and her choice to help RSABI support people in Scottish agriculture with this legacy,” said RSABI chairman, David Leggat.
“This amazing gift not only gives the charity financial security for a number of years, it will also enable us to support more people. We’re always looking at ways to improve our services and these funds will help us do even more on this.”
He said the charity plans to invest the majority of the legacy funds to provide annual income for many years to come, and to use some of it to develop ways of raising awareness of RSABI’s services to more people, and in particular younger people.
It also plans to allocate some of the funds to its crisis fund, to enable it to quickly ramp up support to the industry in the case of future crises.
Important source of income
RSABI finance manager and company secretary, Harry Seran, said the charity spends around £1m every year to provide a “much-needed and effective service” for hundreds of people who are really struggling in the Scottish farming sector.
He added: “Thanks to the efforts of agricultural communities across the generations, we are lucky to have reserves, which have been crucial in enabling us to expand our services in recent years and to weather difficult times like the pandemic.
“After the turmoil of 2020 we’ve seen a reduction in our annual investment income of around £86,000, with no sign of recovery for the 2021 financial year. Dividends from the investment of this legacy will be an important source of income for the charity in the years to come.”
RSABI chief executive, Nina Clancy, said: “This legacy will not only benefit the agricultural community now, but for many years to come and for that we are all incredibly grateful.”
She said the charity will still need support from those in the agricultural sector through donations, fundraisers, and people and businesses signing up to its supporters scheme.
The RSABI helpline is 0300 111 4166. It is open 365 days a year from 7am to 11pm. Earlier this month the charity launched a campaign encouraging people to #keeptalking.