Community care farm plan for the Ipswich area

Directors Tessa Amos and Eilir Rogers

Directors Tessa Amos and Eilir Rogers - Credit: Archant

Plans are being finalised to launch a new social enterprise for vulnerable adults and children close to Ipswich in the form of a community farm.


Sunflower - Credit: Archant

A group of volunteers has come together to form the Sunflower Community Care Farm, with the aim of helping vulnerable members of the community to confidence and skills by working in the countryside.

Tessa Amos, from Rendlesham and Eilir Rogers, who runs The Dog pub restaurant at Grundisburgh, with her husband James, are two of the directors.

Together with three other directors they have put together a business plan, and are looking for a suitable site and to raise funds for the project.

They plan is to open the care farm during 2017.

Director Ninette Watkinson

Director Ninette Watkinson - Credit: Archant

The site needs to be in a rural setting, of course, but within easy reach of Ipswich.

The other directors are businessman Nick Wellington, Ninette Watkinson who is Eilir’s mother and currently lives in Kent, and Mags Fortune, who runs the Wot’s Up care services and club in Ipswich.

But what is a care farm?

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It is a farm, where crops can be grown, and animals raised and cared for - but it is also a nurturing environment where adults with learning difficulties, or facing other challenges, can benefit from meaningful work or volunteering.

Some care farms grow vegetables and keep chickens for eggs, or have pigs or other livestock. Some have horses for riding too.

Tessa teaches adults and children on Riding for the Disabled projects.

Tessa added: “We are all very enthusiastic and excited. We know there is a great need out there, something like 15,000 people in this area of Suffolk alone.

“We need to find the right premises and land, of course. We might start with some disused farm buildings and gather volunteers to help get them ready. We could do with a minimum of ten acres of land, if we are going to keep some animals.”

Eilir added: “It would be good to take in some rescue animals, and involve the local rescue charities as well.

“When I had horses I spent more hours in the care, grooming and preparation than I did riding. I enjoyed looking after them.

“The most important part is the animal husbandry side. People do love looking after animals.”

The care farm will probably have goats and pigs, chickens and dogs.