Swansea Community Farm is celebrating after receiving just under £100,000 to deliver a new health and wellbeing project called Calon Farm or “Heart of the farm”.
The funding from Big Lottery’s People and Places programme will enable the Farm to further keep improving wellbeing by providing new opportunities for people to get involved in practical outdoor volunteering. The project will also develop a new role for volunteers who have experienced health issues to become mentors called ‘Muckers’ to inspire and support others by sharing their skills and experiences.
Volunteering is an excellent way of building people’s confidence- it is a great first step towards recovering from health problems and feeling better. Volunteering has the potential to change people’s lives for the better and many Farm volunteers will now be able to use their skills and experiences to help others. One volunteer, Paul Abraham, who attends the Farm, had to give up work due to a work related injury and says ‘I love the farm- it’s a great inclusive place. It’s helped me get my mojo back after a huge change in my life, I lost my job and was dealing with health problems- I was in a dark hole. Volunteering at the Farm has helped me climb out of that hole, at one point I couldn’t see a way forward. I’d always been so busy and was then so bored and felt useless because I wasn’t using my skills.
Now I look forward to Thursdays, to volunteering with my muckers. It’s my day to be me I’m not a husband, dad, bampy or dog walker. I’m Paul A! I’m achieving stuff, giving something back and will now get to help more new people get their mojo back too”.
Speaking about the grant received, Volunteer and Training Manager, Kate Gibbs, said: “I am chuffed that the Big Lottery Fund has decided to award this grant to the Farm. The Farm exists because of and for volunteers and to improve wellbeing. Our community is the inspiration for and driving force behind the new project. It has been a tough year- a year ago we were seriously facing closure but thanks to the volunteers’ determination and hours of graft and positivity we are still here and on the up. I’ve experienced for myself that volunteering at the Farm can change’s lives and it is fantastic to have the opportunity to build on this by getting volunteers trained to be able to support others with their health issues. ”
Speaking about the grant, Swansea Community Farm’s Chairperson, Nerys Edmonds, added: “We are thrilled! Calon Farm will help more people in Swansea get involved in outdoor volunteering that will improve their wellbeing, help reduce isolation, give back to the community and learn new skills.”
“The Farm believes in the value of volunteering for individuals and the community and it is great that Big Lottery have shown that they want to invest in all the great work that goes on here at the Farm and in Swansea. We would all like to say a big thank you to The Big Lottery Fund” she added.