A helping hand for those who need

HELPING hands came from an unexpected place for a local farmer this week, with city-slickers ditching their suits and office chairs for a pair of gloves and wire cutters.

Nine workers from global software company IRESS made the journey from their CBD offices to John Bertram’s Mt Sylvia farm on Wednesday as part of Rural Aid’s Farm Rescue program.

The group helped erect 150m of fencing and remove debris from the farm’s main driveway.

One of the volunteers, Tracey Kinsella, said it was an eye-opening experience.

“In Brisbane you read the paper and hear about it on the news, but it’s not until you actually get out here and see it that you realise just how much it’s affecting people,” Ms Kinsella said.

The group attended the farm as part of Rural Aid’s Farm Rescue program that teams businesses and community groups that want to lend a hand up with farmers doing it tough.

Workers from IRESS with John and Dianne Bertram after a hard day's work on the couple's farm.
Workers from IRESS with John and Dianne Bertram after a hard day’s work on the couple’s farm.

Rural Aid General Manager Wayne Thomson said the program provided more than just help around the farm.

“It’s also the mental impact and the reinforcement that someone cares – they give a damn,” Mr Thomson said.

“Here we have a group of office works from Brisbane City, the heart of the CBD, and they want to show they care for these guys by giving up their day to be here, and have a bit of a sweat and get a few blisters, to help with the needs that the farmers have.”

John Bertram said it was heartening to know there were people out there that cared for the plight of farmers.

“This is really great to see that others can appreciate the difficulties we face in the rural communities,” Mr Bertram said.

“They’ve recognised that the region has been damaged and that they’d like to make a contribution towards doing bits and pieces to repairing some of that.”

Member for Lockyer Jim McDonald attended and spoke to the IRESS volunteers about the impact of giving up their time.

“It’s really touching and warms your heart to see people want to give back and want to come and help – it gives you a lot of faith in humanity,” Mr McDonald said.

Mr Thomson said anyone who wished to volunteer their time, or farmers wishing to host volunteers, should contact Rural Aid on 1300 327 624.