Volunteer stories

Jo Winton by the bambooJoe Winton

I volunteer in the community gardens, developing and maintaining them for community enjoyment and use.

I first heard about the farm when I moved to Southville to buy my first home. I saw an advertisement for a farm event in a local news publication and I’ve been volunteering at the farm since October 2015.

I work for myself, so I can plan my work around volunteering at the farm. My job for the past 9 years involves working closely with farmers and landowners and I’ve always enjoyed working with them. The rest of my time is usually spent doing some form of outdoor activity or training for a race; I’ve recently completed my first full marathon, but not sure if I’m up for another one!

It’s great to know you’re making a difference; if you see how many people use and enjoy the farm, you will soon realise what a worthwhile organisation it is. It’s also nice to get your hands dirty once a week and gives you a great excuse for not tending to your own garden!

It is amazing that I am able to give something back to community I live in. You meet some fantastic people and I recently attended a short horticulture course at the farm to improve my knowledge of all things green-fingered.

The farm is a fantastic space right in the heart of Bristol and I’m sure anyone who visits would enjoy it.

Chloe Burgoyne moving hay balesChloe Burgoyne

I’m 21 and from Bristol. I came to the farm through Bristol Drugs Project. I went to university in London and got into some problems with drugs and alcohol so I came back to Bristol. I made contact with Bristol Drugs Project and got involved in the Training Education Volunteering Employment (TEVE) programme, and they referred me to the farm.

When I first volunteered here, I loved it straight away. I love the animals and being outside, even if it’s raining. I sometime work alongside the farmer here who has taught me lots about farming. I’d love to have a farm of my own or work on a farm one day, a dream job!

Being at the farm has helped me with my recovery from my problems with drugs and alcohol. It’s good going to a place to do something I love and it’s rewarding to see what I have achieved. It has helped me be distracted and not turn to old habits. Everyone is so happy at the farm so when you get here you are immediately uplifted! I have also met some other volunteers and we chat at break times, it’s nice to socialise.

As well as farm volunteering I have also volunteered supporting a group, gardening, with children and running a BBQ at an event. All of the volunteering gives me a sense of purpose and makes me feel good.

Rachel Tranter with a goatRachel Tranter

I am from Brislington and I have volunteered at the farm since July 2015. I muck out the animals and make sure they have everything they need. I first heard about volunteering here though my recovery worker at Rethink who suggested volunteering as she knew I like spending time with animals  and she was aware of the volunteering opportunities here. When I started I was quite nervous but everyone made me feel welcome, staff and volunteers.

Being around people again has really helped me, and well as having a routine coming to volunteer every Friday. It’s good for me being with the  team of volunteers; everyone is supportive and nice.

My favourite thing about volunteering is spending time with the animals and sometimes giving the baby ones a cuddle!

In the future I hope to do a college course in health and social care or early years. I’m working out what I want to do and I’m hoping I can get more experience in different areas of the farm to help me work it out.

I would recommend volunteering to anyone dealing with mental health challenges.

Akif Naeem helping in the gardenAkif Naeem

I have been volunteering for 6 years every Tuesday in a learning disabilities group. I give the goats hay and food. I collect the eggs and clean out the chickens. I also clean out the ducks which is a new job. I love all of the jobs except the pigs.  I love volunteering and I like all of the people here!