Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000

Description

Loxley Valley Community Farm was set up nearly 10 years ago as a member run co-operative farm. The group keeps animals and grows fruit and vegetables as a community on regenerated scrubland.

The group would like to apply for funds to purchase a fully accessible composting toilet and baby change facilities with associated landscaping and equipment to maintain the area and give safe access.

The groups’ main aims are to:
• Manage a local food co-operative as a consumer-led, not for profit social enterprise,
• Foster a greater sense of community through working together.
• To give a proportion of the harvest to charitable causes

There are no employees so all work (including planning and strategic development) is done by members and volunteers. There is a communal veg plot and pigs, sheep, poultry and bees are kept. Rather than split the land into separate allotments it is farmed together with the group making shared decisions. The farm is run as a cooperative and is open for new members to join at any time.

The group works hard to engage with the local community and open days have attracted up to 250 local residents. All produce is sold locally and where possible animals are free range and rare breed.

The group exists in order to give people the opportunity to grow their own food and raise their own animals whilst working as part of a team. Members come from the local area and none had any farming experience before the project was set up. Healthy lifestyles are encouraged through active participation in farm jobs which allow city dwellers the opportunity to get out in the fresh air and learn about where their food comes from. Children particularly enjoy eating food grown on the farm.

The group is also very social and holds regular social events which all members and volunteers are invited to attend. This helps encourage a real sense of community and aids team building.

Over the past few years more young families have got involved however the site has no proper toilet facilities (there is only a homemade composting urinal) for use by members and volunteers which people have cited as a reason for not joining. It also makes social events on the farm more difficult.

Toilets have had to be hired for events when there are large numbers of visitors on site however this is very ad hoc and the group cannot afford to hire toilets for their twice monthly workdays. Having toilet facilities on site would help to increase interaction with the community and attract more people to join in.

The group has also had interest from Woodcraft Folk and local primary schools who want to organise a visit and having a toilet on site would allow visits such as this to be facilitated more easily. The group would also be able to run small courses on site (for example to introduce people to chicken and pig keeping thus passing on their knowledge gained) and a toilet would also allow the farm to be used for more social events.

Loxley Valley Community Farm

Moment of Pride

I'm proud that we have regenerated the land from overgrown scrub into a community space where families can come and learn new skills, make friends and escape from city life. There is a strong feeling of community and everyone from young children to pensioners enjoys coming together to get involved.

Location: Loxley