A Sudbury-based charity’s plan to create a community farm is a step closer to becoming reality, after it received a starter grant of almost £5,000.
The Befriending Scheme received the funding after a successful application to Power to Change, an independent trust supporting community businesses in England, in order to help launch its new Friends Care Farm initiative.
The project aims to assist vulnerable adults in building friendships and learning new skills, including gardening and growing vegetables, cooking meals and caring for animals.
The charity also hopes the care farm will aid in its long-running goal of reducing loneliness and isolation, which it has identified as a growing problem all across the country.
Shirley Moore, chief executive of The Befriending Scheme, said: “The Friends Care Farm has the potential to transform lives.
“We know from our 28 years of providing support to vulnerable people that our members will derive so much pleasure, increased confidence and essential life skills from the services we’ll provide on the farm.
“And the future for the farm is hugely exciting – over the next few years, we’re planning to develop it to incorporate a community café and farm shop, and even holiday accommodation, enabling members of the public can enjoy the care farm, too.
“The grant from Power to Change has been crucial in enabling us to write a comprehensive business plan based on the land that we have identified.
“We are one step closer to getting the farm up and running so we’re delighted.”
Richard Harries, director of the Power to Change Research Institute, added: “It’s great to be able to support fledgling community business ideas, many of which just need a bit of help at the start to really take off.
“We’re excited to see how plans for the care farm develop and the benefits it could bring locally.”