Tag Archives: volunteering

Volunteer Stories

Emma discovered the farm after Googling ‘farms to volunteer at’. She initially came along to the Woodland Skills course and then stayed on as a regular volunteer.

Emma and her husband would like to set up a regenerative agricultural enterprise, such as pastured poultry, which is where a mobile laying flock follows livestock on a rotation around the land. This builds up soil and absorbs a lot of carbon from the atmosphere – both actions are vital to fight climate change and soil loss.

However, first she wanted to get lots of hands on practical experience of livestock and farming. She loves the variety of animals that she gets to work with, and says that there’s so much you’d never know without first hand experience – such as there’s a right and wrong way to slope a nest box roof! (If it slopes the wrong way, chicken poo will go in the nest box).

Emma really enjoys being outside and with people who are interested in farming. Her favourite aspect of volunteering is the variety of jobs and animals, and the camaraderie with the other volunteers. She really values how much time Ian spends with the volunteers and the knowledge he shares with them. She dislikes – nothing!

In the future Emma would also like to learn about bee keeping.


What’s been happening this Spring?

Lots of fun, creativity and learning on the Farm!

We’ve run several very successful workshops and courses on the farm this spring, as well as some lovely free family activites during the Easter Holidays.

The Woodland Skills course took place on Mondays earlier in the year. This has been great fun and the participants have been learning lots of interesting and traditional skills, including basket making, firelighting and shelter building. They also carried out important work maintaining and improving the woodland.

Kerry ran a peg loom weaving workshop where people learnt to weave a simple wool rug using raw fleece from our own Jacob sheep. These little rugs can be very useful, providing a warm, waterproof seat anywhere – so ideal to take on walks and camping.

The Spring Tonics and Superfoods workshop was blessed with fantastic sunny weather. Participants were taken on a short walk around the farm, looking at everyday plants that are full of nutrients and healing, learning about their history and modern uses. Many of these plants were then tried as teas. They then made a herbal vinegar to take home.

In the Easter Holidays we had our Family Fun Day, with Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. There were lots of great activities in the Water Vole Woodland, including mud prints, nest building and clay bird making.

The Get Growing afternoon was extremely popular, with lots of people planting seeds and decorating pots. The legendary Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Saturday was as busy as ever with people hunting for clues all around the farm.

All in all a very busy spring! In the coming months we can look forward to Spoon Making, Fire Lighting, Leaf Printing, Herbal First Aid, and new sessions of Talking Tables, Introduction to Volunteering and Herbs for Health. Our Gardening Club, Walking Group and Farm Tots run all year round. Please see our website or Facebook page for more details.

Volunteer Stories

Lee has been volunteering with us since May of this year.  He first came to the farm to take part in the Introduction to Volunteering Course, that we run a couple of times a year. Lee was referred by Headway, an organisation based in Frenchay that supports people with brain injuries.

Lee also started coming along to our Walking Group on Wednesdays, he then started volunteering three days a week.  Lee is always here bright and early no matter what the weather is like, as he really enjoys getting the animals out in the morning. Lee loves to keep busy and meeting people so volunteering on the farm is very beneficial for him.  Working outdoors, with the animals and nature, and being part of a team has greatly improved his wellbeing.  Lee says that he ‘loves helping people enjoy their free time.’  Volunteering at the farm has given his life some structure and focus, and the opportunity to meet lots of different people,  including those with different needs than him. 

Lee’s plans for the future include getting a part time job. 

August update from the Farm

As the year turns, we’re now well and truly in the time of high summer and harvest.  This year’s heat and lack of rain means the gardens are very dry so the volunteers have been doing a great deal of watering. Squashes are just starting to ripen and will be on sale from next week. We have potted herbs for sale, sown and grown by the Herbs for Health group. The fruit trees and bushes are fruiting early this year so don’t miss out!  Ask staff if you’d like to pick your own.

The two new piglets are now going outside 4 days a week day into the cool forest pig pen; they are enjoying seeing all the visitors.

The new chicken run is a great success there is lots of interest and food for the chickens and squashes and meadow plants growing naturally.

We have a set aside the pig pen near the ducks this year, and it has attracted frogs and toads.  This is due to the wild plants such as Mugwort and Goosefoot growing there, creating damp conditions underneath and this has helped them get through this dry time.

Bumble  and Honey bees are loving the artichokes and sunflowers.

Honey will be on sale from September.

We have goat meat, sausages and bacon for sale

Looking forward to seeing you all on the 22nd August for the celebration.

Volunteer Stories

Last week we had four Yr10 students here to do their work experience. 

The students are from different schools, but had all chosen to come to the farm.  Kian likes animals and had worked with horses before, Henial likes animals and is local to the farm. Emma had worked with chickens before and wanted more hands on experience as did Meg.

They all loved everything about working on the farm, being outdoors and working with the animals, and said that they would definitely love to come back. They all felt that volunteering on the farm had improved their confidence and given them practical skills for other areas of their lives. 

Their favourite part was the goats.  Kian and Henial’s worst part was digging hole, Meg and Emma’s worst part was carrying brambles.

Volunteer Stories

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!

Volunteer Stories

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!

 

 

Volunteering Stories

Natalie writes….

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…

Volunteer Stories

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.

paul painting

Volunteer Stories

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.