Poppies Care Farm is on the eastern edge of Ipswich, near the Suffolk Showground, with areas of woodland, pasture, fruit and vegetable growing areas. It is home to alpacas, goats, chickens, guinea pigs, bees and two cats.
We grow a variety of fruit and vegetables as well as garden plants. We have a Market Garden which we are developing this year (2016) with a plan to sell the produce.
We manage two areas of woodland for conservation, coppicing and removing some wood for firewood and leaving dead wood for wildlife habitats, and adding to this with bug hotels and bird boxes. We have replaced non-native trees with native hedgerow.
There is a large workshop, leisure barn (commonly known as the yellow barn) and woodshed where woodworking and other indoor activities can take place in rainy weather.
- We are accredited with Suffolk County Council for care farming and staff and volunteers are DBS checked and have completed Safeguarding Training. We always have a qualified First Aider on site.
- We are proud to say that we are the first Care Farm in the UK to comply with Care Farming UK’s Code of Practice. This is designed to ensure care farms are striving to achieve best practice in all areas of operation. A copy of the Code can be found here.
We offer a wide range of activities to care farm clients, helping them to achieve the following goals:
- Be healthy : active outdoor events; learning about food production and preparation
- Stay safe : managing risks presented by nature and human activity in the farm and in the countryside
- Enjoy and achieve : participation in activities; social contact; learning new skills and building confidence; working as part of a team
- Make a positive contribution : participation enables farm helpers to contribute to the structure and operation of the farm, making and building things individually and as part of a team, building confidence and increasing their sense of belonging and of purpose
- Increase independence : learning new skills which may enable entry into the work place; learning how to grow, process and produce their own food to increase self-reliance; increasing independent travel and social contact; increasing confidence enabling better integration in other environments
An assessment of each person’s needs and abilities will be completed upon commencement of a placement. After each daily session we do a review diary recording the activities for the day and how they got on, including achievements and progress against goals, and how they felt about their day.
Activities can include the following:
- Caring for animals : feeding and watering, cleaning out, health checks, treatments, collecting eggs
- Gardening : Planting, propagating and caring for plants, fruit and vegetables, transplanting, pruning, weeding, harvesting, learning about food groups and vegetable names
- Processing food
- Farm projects : fencing, pathlaying, repairs, yellow barn renovation
- Woodworking : making bug boxes, bee hives, bird boxes, planters and other wooden items requested by care farmers
- Wildlife conservation activities : bug counts, pond dipping, bug hotel building, coppicing, creation and care of wildlife habitats, nature walks through forest (litterpicking along the way!)
- Logging and splitting wood
- Art and craft
We have sufficient indoor facilities to provide activities on rainy days, for example doing woodwork in the workshop, planting and caring for seedlings in the greenhouses, making pots and craft items in the yellow barn, splitting wood in the woodshed, sorting alpaca fleece in the yellow barn.
The daily routine is for care farmers to be collected from a collection point at 9.30 am ready for a 10 am start, after a cup of tea and get together.
After some time to see how everyone is, we discuss activities and timings for the day: things which must be done (attending to animals) and then other activities and projects which we are doing that day.
Care farmers participate in all activities, usually breaking into smaller groups and swopping activities half-way through the day. There are breaks for tea (which we provide) and lunch (which they bring). At 3 pm we complete review diaries to monitor progress against goals and then return to the collection point at 3.30 pm.