Katie has been volunteering with us for over 3 years. She first came for work experience whilst studying for her Level 3 in Animal Management. She is now in her final year of a Foundation Degree in Animal Management at Weston College. She also works as an Animal Care Assistant at Animal Farm in Brean.
Katie says that volunteering at the farm helped her get on her Foundation Degree course and helped her get her job, for two reasons. Firstly the farm was able to provide her with a reference, and secondly the experience and confidence she’d gained through coming here really impressed the college and her employers.
She loves volunteering at the farm and especially likes new experiences and making friends, and says there are no worst parts for her. She really loves every day! A few weeks ago, Katie was lucky enough to see Snowy give birth to her kids. She says that was the best birthday present ever!
Paul has been volunteering with us for over 2 years. He was interested in the farm as he wanted to learn how to look after farm animals. He was very pleased to find somewhere to do this, that was local to him.
His favourite part of the farm is the pigs – he loves looking after them.
He also enjoys the fact that every day is different – there are always a few surprises!
His least favourite job is unloading deliveries – particularly the hay and straw deliveries that we get for animal bedding and fodder – he ends up covered in bits of straw.
As a result of his volunteering at the farm, Paul had an apprentiship with ALS Energy Group, learning how to do energy audits of people’s homes, with a view to reducing energy bills.
In the future Paul would like to work on a commercial farm – preferably one with pigs!
Volunteer April has recently carried out a great project with Blaise Weston Court, a local extra care scheme for the elderly. She took an incubator and some eggs to the home, so they could see the chicks as they hatched.
April described what she did – “I used an incubator to imitate a hen sitting on the eggs. It works by rocking the eggs gently over the day and monitoring the humidity which should be ideally between 40-50%. However, temperatures will fluctuate just like they would with a mother hen as she will sit for a
while then walk about, resulting in the eggs getting cooler.”
The project aimed to build a connection with the local elderly home and the farm. “The residents loved it! They spent a lot of time looking at the eggs and checking when they were going to start to hatch. They were very excited when it started to happen.” described April
The project also helped us to discover how fertile our cockerals are, and the new chicks will help us build up our flock.
I began volunteering in Feb 2016 when I was doing my Animal Care course. I was coming to the farm twice a week (Wed and Fri), in order to complete my work experience hours for college. I completed my course in July 2016. Having finished my course I realised how much I enjoyed working with the farm animals and people, so I decided to continue as a volunteer.
I have continued volunteering every Friday, even though I have recently got a job in WH Smith, I still want to volunteer as often as possible. I used the farm as a reference when I applied for my job and I believe my experience at the farm has been very useful, particularly when talking to customers and working with other staff.
I really enjoyed helping out with the Farm Tots on a Wednesday which I now miss due to work. I hope I will continue to make time for volunteering at the farm as its very beneficial to me, and I’d recommend it to anyone thinking of giving it a go…
Andrew has been volunteering on the farm twice a week for 8 years! He loves coming, and turns up whatever the weather, rain or shine.
His favourite jobs are collecting the eggs, refilling the poultry drinkers and giving the chickens their corn.
Today Andrew was collecting windfalls for the pigs. We have Gloucester Old Spot pigs – another name for them is Orchard Pigs as they used to be kept in the apple orchards that were once very common in the west country.
Andrew is also branching out and volunteering in our Community Cafe at weekends. He likes working there as it is very different from the farm – he has to dress smartly and stay nice and clean.
Andrew used the farm’s tablet to take some pictures of his favourite animals.
Liam has been volunteering with us since January. He was on the Animal Management and Conservation course at SGS College in Filton and came to us for his work experience. He chose the farm because it was local to him and we had different animals from the usual house pets.
Liam loves volunteering here and working with the different animals – he says he is never bored! He has lots of fun and especially loves it when the piglets are born. He has enjoyed seeing the changes over the last 11 months including the building of the cafe. Liam also helps out with Farm Tots, our regular hands on session for under 5s and their carers. He brings out a hen every week so that the children can see one up close and stroke it.
The only aspect of volunteering here that Liam doesn’t like is working in the rain!
Recent Liam got a job at Macdonald’s. He feels that volunteering at the farm really helped with this, as his confidence with people and the public in general has really improved. His other employability skils have also improved such as being able to turn up regularly and reliably on time.
Liam took a picture his favourite animals – the naughty goats.
We recently had two volunteers from the European Voluntary Programme come to the Farm. They shared their experience with us.
Our experience in Lawrence Weston Community Farm
It has been a wonderful month. From the first till the last day, it was a great experience that we will never forget. Those four weeks we had the opportunity to connect with nature and work in a beautiful outdoor environment with a pretty relaxing atmosphere. We got to meet and work with great and friendly people that were always there for us, helping us to improve our English skills and we are grateful for that. We came closer to animals and feel comfortable with them. We got the chance to learn loads of new things about animal care as well as gardening and plants which made us more environmentally aware. We most certainly recommend this experience to everyone.
Galatea and Elena from Italy and Greece.
Michelle has been coming to the farm for over a year. She does amazing work with Scott. She loves to do a variety of jobs during her morning with us, but says she also looks forward to her tea break! Michelle does a great deal of gardening including weeding, sowing seeds, potting on and watering the plants. She is very good at knowing which plants need watering and which plants are weeds. Her favourite jobs are collecting the eggs and feeding weeds to the chickens and pigs.
Will has been volunteering with us since he was at school. He started at the weekends because he wanted to look after animals. Since then he enrolled on a Level 3 Subsidary Diploma in Animal Management and Conservation. He now does one day a week work experience with us. He thinks that his previous voluntary work at the farm gave him a head start on his course.
Will loves looking after the animals especially feeding, handling the animals and locking up at the end of the day. He is quick to point out however, that all the jobs are important.
Will feels that volunteering has been really helpful with his course as he has been learning why jobs and tasks are carried out in a certain way and about the importance of animal welfare. He has enjoyed having some responsibility and likes animals even more. He has even changed some of his eating habits.
This spring he has been learning some gardening as well – this is a new aspect to his volunteering and he finds it quite satisfying.
Will likes being on the farm as he prefers to be outdoors – except when the weather is horrible!
Here are a few pictures that Will has taken of his favourite bits of the farm.
We are in the middle of our breeding plan for next spring at the moment. The Jacob sheep are pregnant and we have another ram with the other sheep at the farm, so we hope to have lambs being born over a few weeks from the end of February onwards.
Rufus the Gloucester Old Spot boar on loan from Bath City Farm arrived here at the weekend and is due to be introduced to Jasmine and Blossom later on this afternoon. Although it is very muddy the pigs are still able to enjoy going outdoors occasionally.
Handsome Rufus the Boar – let’s hope Jasmine and Blossom like him!
Rufus getting to know the girls
Between me, Ian and the volunteers we have managed to remember to look after the eggs in our incubator and were thrilled that 3/4s of them hatched. We now have the eight female chicks under a heat lamp in the stable block quickly turning from balls of fluff into little birds.
The goats are due to go off to visit a billy in a month or so. The goats are growing rapidly and touch wood have got their heads stuck in the fence less and less every week.
We have been doing some spinning at the weekend, especially during the wet weather. The Saturday Farm Hands have been able to have a go after the workshop and have learned to spin a little on a drop spindle.
We now have our freezers well stocked with pork joints, chops, slices, plenty of lamb including a few legs left and a new batch of sausages. Current flavours are chilli and garlic, Cumberland and traditional plain sausages.