The creation of a Sudbury charity’s community care farm reached a key milestone at the weekend, as guests were invited to witness the site’s radical transformation over the last year.
The first ever open day at the Red Rose Community Farm in Lindsey, run by The Befriending Scheme (TBS), took place on Saturday, after nine months of work to redevelop the site for the benefit of vulnerable people.
Special guests included Suffolk’s High Sheriff Mark Pendlington, Babergh District Council leader John Ward, South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, Sudbury mayor Jan Osborne and her consort, town councillor Adrian Osborne.
Along with local residents, they received a tour of the completed facilities, which aims to provide friendship and learning opportunities on horticulture and animal husbandry.
TBS, which supports people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and other disadvantaged groups, previously operated a similar farm in Assington for three years, beginning in 2019.
However, a breakdown in the agreement with the landowners at that site led the organisation to seek out an alternative location, for which it secured £100,000 from Babergh District Council last year.
Shirley Moore, chief executive of TBS, which has its headquarters at The Croft in Sudbury, revealed that, when they moved on to the site in Lindsey in December, it was just a field with no utilities installed.
“A great deal has been achieved in nine months to turn the site into a fantastic community farm, with sheep, goats, rescue and rare breed chickens, turkeys, ducks rabbits, guinea pigs, reptiles and many others,” she said.
“The farm specialises in growing herbs and plants, and members are very proud to have supplied high quality produce to the Michelin-listed Angel Hotel and Restaurant in Nayland.”
She also paid tribute to all those who had made the project possible, including staff, volunteers, supporting businesses and local fundraisers.
In addition to the animal enclosures, attendees visited the site’s polytunnels, where members can grow plants from seed, to be sold at the monthly Sudbury Farmers’ Market.
The care farm also includes two large portable buildings, with a kitchen and space for various activities, such as arts, crafts and children’s games.
Sudbury mayor Cllr Osborne praised the work of the TBS team, stating: “This is a fantastic project. I have seen first-hand what a difference it makes to vulnerable people.”
The High Sheriff also hailed the charity’s positive impact on the lives of the most vulnerable people in Suffolk and their families.
“What a pleasure it was to visit and enjoy the Red Rose Community Farm,” he said. “It was a sheer delight to visit such a fantastic and worthwhile project.”
Mr Cartlidge added: “It was brilliant to attend TBS’s Red Rose Community Farm open day in Lindsey at the weekend.
“It was great to see their green care facilities, providing a safe and supportive outdoor learning environment for vulnerable people.”
Published in the Suffolk Free Press.