Ipswich community care farm celebrates five-figure funding boost
An Ipswich community care farm which provides skills and opportunities for people with learning difficulties has been given a five figure funding boost.
Poppies Care Farm was founded in 2014 and allows people with learning difficulties and mental health difficulties to learn useful farming skills in a social environment.
Having to make do with a tractor more than 30 years old, the farm decided a new machine was needed, and thanks to a £10,000 Big Lottery grant alongside £1,000 from Comic Relief and remaining funds from two local trusts and Kubota, the farm was able to officially launch the new tractor, trailer and attachments.
Liz Marley, director of the care farm alongside husband Lee Smith, said: “It’s amazing, and it’s phenomenally important for the farm.
“All of our care farmers drive the old tractor, but it was quite a rickety old thing.
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“These are guys that are never going to drive cars, but they get to drive these and feel like that is something they do.
“It’s good for teaching, their confidence and empowerment.”
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With representatives from Kubota joining the farm for the launch, the eager care farmers were able to drive the machinery and earn ‘driving licences’ prepared for them by the firm.
The shiny new equipment has already proved useful helping to transport water, equipment and been put to use in the field.
The new kit topped off a busy 12 months for the farm in which it extended the market garden by as much as half, a huge pumpkin harvest of more than 100, and for the first time an open day open to members of the public, rather than just those in the industry, which helped share the farm’s work and raise more than £1,000.
Plans for a busy 2018 are already well underway with aims including a new donkey shelter, extending irrigation into the donkey and alpaca field and renovating an old sheep shed.
As a small-scale good cause, the farm is reliant on grant funding opportunities to cover larger-scale projects and new equipment outside of the regular running costs, but also has a wider benefit for the care farmers themselves.
Mrs Marley added: “These are people who come to the farm who are learning something meaningful, they get social interaction and fun, so the overall experience is very positive.”