VOLUNTEERS and community workers who help country people suffering from stress are being offered a £500,000 boost by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Stress is normally considered an urban phenomenon but in recent years doctors and social workers have recorded a growth in the condition in rural areas caused by such factors as isolation, lack of public transport and unemployment.
Sufferers are often helped by local voluntary groups so Defra has announced a half-million-pound grant to help fund the work of these groups over the next three years.
Making the announcement, Jim Knight, Minister for Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity, commented: "Defra recognises that voluntary and community organisations are providing invaluable services to many people in rural areas, especially supporting them in times of need. This is a useful fund which supports work to help people in a real and practical way."
Expressions of interest are invited from relevant bodies for work within rural England. Proposals may start from November 2005 onwards and run up to no later than March 2008.
Groups interested in applying for the new grants can download more information from www.rsin.org.uk or email Renny Wodynska at email@example.com ( tel. 02476 413 605). The closing date for expressions of interest is 15th July 2005 at 12 noon.