St John’s awarded a community grant to Bath City Farm, to support their core funding over a three year period. St John’s funding is helping to strengthen the organisation and make it more sustainable for the future. The core funding not only supports the general running costs but also helps to fund much needed administrative support to improve essential policies and procedures. This grant has also enabled Bath City Farm, to have the staff capacity to apply for the PQASSO quality standard, which is the leading quality standard for the voluntary sector.
Bath City Farm connects people to the land and the outdoors. It aims to build a caring and healthy community through the involvement of local people, especially those who are disadvantaged, in the development and maintenance of a productive green space. They run nine different targeted projects for adults and young people with multiple and complex needs, as well as free community events, school visits and educational workshops.
Working with people who experience disadvantage in society, is at the centre of their work and projects have developed in response to the need from the local and wider community. Bath City Farm’s support covers a broad spectrum, with an example of the types of projects they run below;
- General Volunteering – where people of different abilities, backgrounds and experiences can mix together to help look after the farm site. Volunteers who are unemployed, retired, students, people with learning difficulties and those experiencing mental health difficulties all attend these sessions.
- Grow it, Cook it, Share it– a horticultural therapy project with activities for all abilities. This thriving group also works in partnership with Hillview Psychiatric Ward who bring in-patients to the farm, who are nearly ready to be discharged.
- Make and Bake- this group make some wonderful products to sell in the farm shop. This group offers a much needed social activity for people who have felt isolated from their community.
- Farm Hands- uses the animals as therapy for a wide range of people with mental health issues.
- Feathered Friends Project – an outdoor activity and socialisation project for those aged 60+.
- EARTHworks – therapeutic project looking after the animals and tending the allotment. Participants come through referred agencies such as the National Autistic Society and Action on Hearing Loss.
- Training at the Trough – this project teaches participants work related skills in catering and customer service.
- Branching Out – this youth project encompasses a wide variety of clubs and groups for different age groups ranging from the Roots and Shoots Toddler Group to the, Get Green Project for Young people between 16-25yrs.
- Family engagement – a targeted programme of 13 seasonal events to engage families facing adversity through domestic abuse, substance abuse and long-term mental health issues.
Bath City Farm also run school visits, adult training courses and community events focusing on nature, the arts and heritage.
Helen Fisher, the General Manager at Bath City Farm said, “This funding helped us to provide support to hundreds of people last year. A total of 422 people have engaged with our projects last year and we expect numbers to rise in 2017. In addition we have engaged with 915 school children, 2600 people have attended our community events and 48 people attended free adult training courses as well as having 12,000 general visitors.”
“There have been many highlights but we are especially pleased how our new ‘Training at the Trough’ project has engaged people from the local community. It has really given the café a boost and they cook some amazing food from farm produce. Other highlights have included our bonfire night celebrations, which we ran in partnership with DNA Arts and the Natural Theatre Company. They led a community parade with a torch through Twerton and Whiteway to light the bonfire at the farm, which was handed to a local young person we have been working closely with, to ignite the huge bonfire. The atmosphere was fantastic and made us feel so proud to be part of this great community.”
Bath City Farm is a community hub which attracts people from all walks of life. It is unique in the area in being able to provide the countless opportunities for social interaction between diverse groups that might not cross paths in wider society. Without Bath City Farm;
- Low income families living in high density urban surroundings would not have access to a free large beautiful green space maintained by the local community for the local community.
- Adults with multiple or complex needs, such as mental health issues, drug dependency, long term unemployment, learning disabilities, and chronic physical conditions, would not have access to our specialised therapeutic projects and the wider benefits they bring.
- Young people would not have access to a wide variety of outdoor educational projects that instil a passion for the natural world whilst providing safe opportunities to play and learn.
“Without this funding from St John’s we would not be able to effectively plan for our future, promote our work, and improve our services. It plays a key component in securing the future of the farm in the long term.”
Helen Fisher, General Manager of Bath City Farm