Ellie has been volunteering with us for 3 years. She started as a weekend volunteer while she was still at school. Now she attends SGS in Filton and comes to the Farm once a week for her work experience. She doing Animal Care Level 2 Diploma.
She says that the experiences she gained whilst volunteering at the Farm have definitely helped her deal with the transition from school to college and helped her get on her course. Skills such as being able to work as part of a team, time management, the ability to use her initiative and to work on her own have been vital.
Ellie has also just started a job with British Home Stores at The Mall. She says that volunteering at the Farm helped her get this job because they were impressed with her volunteering commitment and that she seemed very mature for her age. The Farm also provided Ellie with a reference, which can be hard to come by when you’re young.
Ellie still loves coming to the Farm and has always valued being treated as an adult and being given responsiblity.
The community cafe and training room is really taking shape now as the roof goes on and we can see how big it is. There will be lots of room in the wifi connected training room to run all kinds of courses. However, it won’t be just course based training taking place there, the cafe and kitchen itself will be the focus of practical, work orientated learning.
First the roof timbers went on.
Then a layer of wood panelling. The boxed holes are where the skylights will be.
Insulation was put on and then the final roof cladding.
Next trenches will be dug through the farm to connect the utilities to the building. This will be carried out in a cut-and-cover manner to cause minimum disruption to the public and to continue to allow the movements of the animals.
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.
Juley Community Farmer
Back to Work with the Farm
Liz is a volunteer at the farm and she recently got a cleaning job.
Liz said ‘Coming to the farm has kept me busy and made me more employable.
I still want to get a job in animal care but this job will keep me going and I’ll still pop in from time to time to volunteer. I told my new employer about my volunteering work that I am sure helped me get my job.’
April has volunteered at the farm for over 4 years whilst still at school. She has just got a Saturday job working in a bakery. However, she will also carry on doing her work experience on a Tuesday at the farm while she continues with her college course.
April said ‘Working on the farm has helped improve my working experience, dealing with members of the public and communication skills working with a variety of different people. I feel confident in myself thanks in part to the farm and the opportunities and skills that I have learnt. I will continue to use the farm as a reference when applying for work in the future.’
Quote from the Farm Hands themselves today ‘Wonderful day working with our new Farm Hand’. Over the past couple of weeks the 2 groups of Farm Hands have taken part in everything from goat walking to garlic planting. Lots of hard work and muddy boots all round.
Back to Work with the Farm
It was June and I had just moved from London to Bristol to get away from the non-stop city life. I soon started looking for work but didn’t seem to have to much luck, the Job Centre had 1000s of jobs online but no one wanted to talk to me or even reply to my applications. As time went on, I walked my dog Lola each day passing Lawrence Weston Community Farm.
Volunteer would ring in my mind each time I passed, so after a few weeks I did just that. They made me feel welcome and put some hope and meaning back in to my life.
I found It wasn’t just a farm it was a place to meet others from all walks of life doing great work. I would feed the animals, striming grass, help others with tasks – it gave you a real sense of purpose.
After a fairly short space of time my mood and optimism started to grow even though nothing really came of my efforts on the work front I felt OK
A few months passed and I was having a cup of tea with others in the rest area for the volunteers at the farm, when for some reason, I still do not know why to this day, I asked Ann who was a care worker for some one I often paired up with to collect chicken and ducks eggs amongst other things, if she knew of anything going doing the sort of work she was doing?
She told me “I am leaving this job in two weeks would you like me to recommend you?” “yes” I said and within a short space of time I had started a new and rewarding job.
Thanks to my time and the wonderful people at the farm this all became possible.
The building of the cafe has come on in leaps and bounds over the last month.
First the external walls were erected.
Then construction of the internal structures started.
Now the scaffolding has arrived in preparation for building the roof.
The pigs however, remain unimpressed.
In the farm yard there have been a few changes over the last weeks. Most startlingly we have brought in some new pigs – the three little pigs will be with us until they are big enough for slaughtering. The current plan is to take the young boar (AKA piggy) and the biggest of the three little pigs to the abattoir together in around 6 weeks. At around 16 weeks the white pig weighs approx 40kg. Piggy is currently a bit over 70 kgs. The four male pigs have recently been introduced to each other and seem to be getting on very well. We had been concerned that the boar was a bit fed up – the company should cheer him up!
Right now our new three Jacob sheep have gone to visit the ram over at Windmill Hill City Farm for the next six weeks. This way we hope to have pure Jacob lambs in the spring. We will find a different ram for the other three ewes and two lambing periods. Three lambs have recently been slaughtered, so although we have temporarily run out of sausages there is plenty of lamb and a little mutton left in the freezers.
The goats seem pretty much okay with the sheep during the daytime. We will move them in to the main stable block soon to make moving the flock backwards and forwards. So at the moment we only have three ewes, five lambs and the two goats on site.
Two of the main flock of hens are visiting the welsummers at the moment – most specifically as this way their eggs will be fertilised. By using a gold or red cockerel (welsummer) with a silver breed (the visiting Light Sussex) we will be able to hatch out hybrid chickens that apart from laying more, browner eggs can be sex-linked at day old. Anyone with a pet snake please get in touch!
Community Farmer, 25th September 2014
Today our 2 new Farm Hands learnt how to hold chickens, did some mucking out, fed the goats some tasty leaves and harvested some amazing marrows. All in a morning’s work!
We had lots of fun feeding the chickens and collecting the eggs. Some of us handled chickens for the first time! We said hello to the goats and fed the farm pigs some apples.