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The Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust – here for keepers and their families – always has and always will

The Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust has always “been there for gamekeepers, stalkers and ghillies” quietly supporting families who are struggling, and individuals who are going through difficult times. The report commissioned by the Scottish Government with participants from members of the SGA, SLE & BASC, which has a substantial section focussed on gamekeepers jobs and lives […]


Autumn leaves

I would like to begin this blog by sending huge congratulations to Alex Hogg on the absolutely fantastic news of the award of an MBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours. I cannot think of anyone who deserves this more, giving so much for so long to The Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association, to Gamekeeping as a whole […]


August – heather and host

July went out with a heat wave and August came in with the eagerly awaited heather bloom to follow.  Our “glorious grouse” have encountered different and varying difficulties from predation (increasing), to a reduction in nutrition where heather beetle has taken a hold and particularly dry conditions early on in some places too.  Upland keepers […]


News and events

New Counselling Service for Gamekeepers and their families

Date posted: November 18, 2020

New Counselling Service for Gamekeepers and their families

The Gamekeepers Welfare Trust (GWT) supports retired gamekeepers, stalkers and their families and increasingly working keepers, often under the most intense stress and pressure.   Health is paramount to working lives in a physically demanding job but the effects on the individual gamekeeper and his/her family from mental ill health has caused alarm more recently.

The Gamekeeping survey the Gamekeepers Welfare Trust published in June of 2020 confirmed the need to provide further services to help alleviate stress and promote mental health well being.  This view is further reinforced by the excellent survey published by the Scottish Government recently “Driven grouse moors – socioeconomic and biodiversity impacts” where members of the SGA, BASC Scotland and Moorland Groups took part.

As of 1st December 2020 counselling services as well as Jamie’s Helpline, resilience training and associated support will be available.  The Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust is not a membership organisation and help is not dependent on being any member except as a gamekeeper, stalker or ghillie. This is a free, confidential service and adds to a range of support services, GWT offers all over the UK.

Jamie’s Helpline is a vital tool in reaching out and helping gamekeepers and their families where someone listens and can support someone for as long as required whatever the issue.  However it is clear that professional counselling is the next step for someone suffering from depression, anxiety or other mental illness often connected with the pressures of the job. The Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust is reaching out to the gamekeeping community to offer that support linking with professional counsellors who understand in a rural context.

Professor Ann Mortimer, B.Sc, MB.Ch.B, M.Med.Sci, F.R.C.Psych, M.D. Professor Emeritus, University of Hull, and Consultant Psychiatrist, NAViGO, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire & BASC council member said  ‘The GWT initiative is greatly welcomed as a source of professional support during these very difficult times.  Given that shotgun and firearms certification is an essential part of the gamekeeper’s role, most are naturally apprehensive about seeking help with low mood or anxiety.  Without help, there may be may be an escalating and substantial compromise of emotional wellbeing, borne alone: counselling represents a way forward, offering potential resolution and personal support.”

Gamekeepers are generally a resilient and tough profession who face the weather day in and day out, long hours and total dedication to their job with a suite of qualifications and experience second to none.  Their families see little of them, live in remote areas often with little communication and face their daily tasks with fortitude and quiet dedication.  It has long been recognised that many in the profession are facing increasing abuse;  maligned by groups which are loud in voice, and thin in substance, increasing rural crime including gundog theft, abuse targeted at their families and even at school, all of which is totally unacceptable and is discrimination of the worst kind.

Helen Benson GWT Chief Executive “I am absolutely delighted we are now able to offer the next step in support for individuals in our community who need that help along with our support. This is an important move forward to be able to provide a completely holistic service for our gamekeepers and their families”.

Anyone who wishes to access this service can contact us by Jamies Helpline 0300 1233 088 or help@thegamekeeperswelfaretrust.com in complete confidence.

News archive

New Counselling Service for Gamekeepers and their families

New Counselling Service for Gamekeepers and their families The Gamekeepers Welfare Trust (GWT) supports retired gamekeepers, stalkers and their families and increasingly working keepers, often under the most intense stress and pressure.   Health is paramount to working lives in a physically demanding job but the effects on the individual gamekeeper and his/her family from mental […]


GWT providing new services following on from the GWT survey

Prior to beginning our programme of training courses on line, fact sheets and webinars on financial health, housing issues and mental health and resilience awareness we have put together a video to explain our reasons, process and progress.  Click below to see and hear how it was done and how we progress what you wanted […]



Today we launch the Hind Course which is designed for gamekeepers’ wives and partners and will be delivered on line by Sally Thompson who is a GWT volunteer and mental health professional. The Hind Course aims to promote mental health well being and awareness, build resilience and provide coping strategies and information on where to […]


Gamekeeping for Life Festival 2020

The Gamekeeping for Life Festival is now live!! However technical problems mean our festival will be held now through this news page and social media. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Join us in our “YEAR OF THE GAMEKEEPER 20/21” celebrating the role of the gamekeeper as true custodian of the countryside and have another […]


Raising the Game Survey published

The Raising the Game Survey follows on from the initiative in 2008 and which we have been working on since then with the Stag Training courses, packs and other work around supporting gamekeepers and their families. That gamekeepers work long hours, put off retirement and have little outside recreational activity will not be a surprise […]


Firearms and Mental Health from Police Scotland

Firearms and Mental Health Introduction EVERYONE’S mental health is important and at some point, in all our lives the majority of us will be affected by circumstances or feelings that can impact negatively on us. It is important that members of the shooting community, as well as their family, friends and colleagues, understand that it’s […]


New message from Police Scotland regarding shotgun and firearms licensing during the Corona Virus Crisis

NFEL – Coronavirus response The current unprecedented circumstances in respect of the Coronavirus has impacted on the ability of Police Scotland to deliver a number of business as usual functions.  It is necessary that we have as many officers as possible available to front line operational policing and support our colleagues in the NHS. As […]


GWT Trustee Raymond’s Message


The Year of the Gamekeeper 2020

  The Year of the Gamekeeper 2020 is a multi organisational initiative which aims to raise the profile of gamekeepers and celebrate their unique position as custodians of the countryside as well as support and sustain the long term future of the Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust. Our ability to support gamekeepers, stalkers, ghillies and their families– […]


March Newsletter 2019

Welcome to the new look monthly newsletter STAG Training Update We have received excellent feedback from the STAG training, which isdelivered on behalf of and in collaboration with the GamekeepersWelfare Trust. The course has been designed by Ex-Marines to tackledifficult issues such as leadership, communication, coping mechanismsand health and well being. The comments we have received are all […]