Justin Madders

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Community farm project welcomed

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A community farm that aims to offer job opportunities to the long-term unemployed a therapeutic environment for people with mental health problems and disabilities today welcomed Councillors Justin Madders, Angela Claydon and Ben Powell to the site as the first foundations were laid. The farm, run by Bridge Community Farms, will open in the summer on Mill Lane.

The farm will offer permanent, sustainable jobs to people who are long-term unemployed, growing and selling fruit, vegetables, salads and herbs to the local community. It will also provide a therapeutic environment for people living with mental health conditions, learning disabilities and physical disabilities, and study facilities for children and young people to learn horticulture, food preparation and basic business skills. The farm’s set up costs have been entirely covered by generous donations from local businesses and individuals and all profits will be invested back into the farm.

The site of a Community Green was officially designated by Councillors Justin Madders, Angela Claydon and Ben Powell in a ribbon-cutting ceremony this afternoon. Mill Lane Community Green will be a space available for local residents to hold outdoor events that benefit the community.

Councillor Angela Claydon said: “I think the Community Green is a marvellous idea for our local community, which will give an extra space for people to hold outdoor community events such as concerts and fun days. We are looking now for a group of local residents to run the site and organise activities so if anyone is interested, please contact us and let us know.”

Today also saw the laying of the foundations for raised beds, which will be planted with vegetables and herbs as part of therapeutic activity for local people with mental health problems, learning disabilities and physical disabilities. The beds are being built by Access 2 Training and Employment, a local community interest company that offers practical training to young people who might otherwise struggle to find work.

Councillor Justin Madders said: “It’s good to see such a different and new idea for the town and I’m very pleased that a piece of land that wasn’t really going to be put to any use has been rejuvenated. I think it’s something that’s going to be of real benefit for anyone that wants to get involved.”

Francis Ball, Director of Bridge Community Farms, said: “The site is really starting to take shape and we are excited about getting ready to open in the summer. We are particular pleased that we will be able to give over so much space to the Mill Lane Community Green and we are looking forward to hosting all sorts of events over the coming months.”

In the run up to the official launch, Bridge Community Farms is calling anyone who would like to get involved as a volunteer to get in touch by emailing info@bridgecommunityfarms.co.uk For more information about the farm, visit www.bridgecommunityfarms.co.uk

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