Royal Highland Show offers dyslexic farmers help

Craig Johnson with Puzzle the Mini Shetland. Picture: Toby Williams

Craig Johnson with Puzzle the Mini Shetland. Picture: Toby Williams

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A DROP-IN clinic aimed at helping farmers with dyslexia will open at the Royal Highland Show tomorrow.

Organisers said the service would offer advice and information to agricultural workers on dealing with the increasingly bureaucratic nature of the industry.

With figures suggesting the condition could be four times more prevalent in the farming industry than in the population at large, senior figures at NFU Scotland said they had teamed up with Dyslexia Scotland to provide drop-in sessions.

The move is part of a major drive – called Farming with Dyslexia – which was launched by the union two years ago.

Speaking at the show, NFU vice-president Andrew McCornick said the campaign was about making life easier for dyslexic farmers and others, as the amount of paperwork necessary to comply with business and environmental requirements becomes a major concern.

He said that removing the stigma associated with the condition and letting people know where they can access support were vital elements in making life easier for workers.

However, he also stressed that efforts to make rules, regulations and paperwork dyslexia-friendly would be equally important.

He said: “With agriculture being characterised by form-filling and increasing amounts of paperwork these days, it was identified that there was a real need to look at simplifying written and verbal communications.

“It is important that documents and other aspects of working life, such as meetings, are made more accessible for dyslexic farmers, crofters and rural workers.”

Several organisations – including the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Division (SGRPID), the Forestry Commission, the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs and the Crofting Commission – have given an undertaking to ensure official documents are easy to use.

The dyslexia drop-in clinic is one of a wide range of attractions, stalls and performances at this year’s show.

Three buses have also been fitted with novelty cow horns in order to move other vehicles out of the way en route to the showground at Ingliston.

Lothian Buses said hybrid vehicles on the No 98 service would run every ten to 15 minutes until June 26. Environmentally friendly buses will, according to the firm, save around six tonnes of CO2, 99 per cent of nitrous oxides and 80 per cent of particulates. Bill Devlin, engineering director at Lothian Buses, said: “Our Special Service 98, which stops right outside the showground, is definitely the best option for travelling to the event.”