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…
Hi my name is Courtney and I’m a Farm Hand at the local community farm in Lawrence Weston. I’ve been a Farm Hand for about three months now and I love everything about it already. We do loads of fun things such as:
Collect the yummy chicken and duck eggs.
Bake banana bread.
Go on scavenger hunts
Pick fresh rhubarb from the garden and baked a rhubarb crumble with it.
Go in all of the pens.
Make awesome dens
Outdoor art with different berries and leaves
We have done lots more things too but it would take up the whole page to write them all.
Everyone and anyone is allowed to be a farm hand as long as they are 8-11 years old no matter what shapes or sizes they are, as long as they come from the local area. Being a farm hand is the best thing that ever happened to me and I wouldn’t change a thing for the life of me. We learn new things every session and have the best time ever.
Paul has been volunteering with us for 5 months. He helps with farm maintenance such as fencing, cutting the grass, cutting weeds back and painting. He’s recently done a great job painting our vegetable stall, guinea pig run and the front gate.
Paul says volunteering on the farm has really helped his peace of mind. He much prefers to be out in the fresh air and he likes to have a job that he can see makes a difference. For example he loves it when he can see people enjoying Community Orchard after he’s cut the grass. It’s important to him to be able to a job that he can work of from start to finish.
Paul loves volunteering at the farm as it’s a nice place to come and visit and he can see life carryng on all around him.
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.
Andrew collecting elderflowers in Water Vole Woodland
All of the work that Michelle and Scott have put in during late winter and early spring is already paying off. As the soil warms up, they have been sowing radish and beetroot seeds directly into the ground. These are fast growing plants, and the radish are ready to harvest already! If you’d like some, simply as a member of staff.
They’ve also been raising lots of plants in the poly tunnel. Some of these, such as cosmos, sunflowers, lambs tails, tomato and squash plants are for sale. Some of them have been planted in the beds.
We are really looking forward to eating some delicous vegetables in the summer!
Michelle and Scott have been working hard redesigning and reorganising our vegetable gardens. They began by taking apart a few of the old raised beds, saving the soil and giving all the weeds to the chickens. Afterwards they laid membrane down to help supress weeds and stop them growing up into the beds. This works as most weed seeds need light to germinate, this is why they grow on disturbed soil.
They then rebuilt the sides of the raised beds, using new wood and refilled them with the soil, plus some extra well rotted manure. This provides nutrients for the growing plants. Soon – as the soil warms up and spring gets underway, they will sow some vegetables.
Well done Michelle and Scott – we will look forward to lots of delicious vegetables.
Scott and Richard getting the wood for the raised beds
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.