Bath City Farm
Bath City Farm supports people with mental health problems to become active and valued farm volunteers. The volunteers gain skills, reduce their isolation and anxiety and improve their confidence and physical health.
Funding of £62,126 over three years supports the Farm to continue to offer volunteering opportunities in practical activities on and around the Farm including food growing, animal care, horticulture and healthy cooking. Volunteers can also assist with the running of our community café, welcoming visitors, and supporting with office work.
Russell first came across Bath City Farm five years ago.
“I’d made a suicide attempt. I felt alone, disillusioned with the world, and couldn’t seem to fit in anywhere. I lost six pints of blood so got very close to losing my life.
After leaving hospital, Russell was referred to a mental health institution, where he was given the opportunity to volunteer at the Farm.
“When I first came here I thought – how come I don’t know this exists?! I’d been living in the area for nearly 40 years and had no idea. As I recovered I expanded my time here. It was great to have the continuity of volunteering when I returned home.
“I don’t know what I would’ve done without Bath City Farm. I have no family and when I first came I felt like I’d landed at an airport full of friendly strangers. Now, they’re like a new family. We’re all different but share a similar positive attitude. I’ve done lots of courses here and spend a lot of time gardening. I love it.”
Helen, General Manager at Bath City Farm says it is this community spirit and tailored support that makes the Farm unique.
“Our Lloyds Bank Foundation funding goes towards our mental health projects which supports people to volunteer, progress and move on with their life. It’s allowed us to support and pay attention to each individual. The longer-term nature of our grant is great.
Alongside their grant from Lloyds Bank Foundation, Bath City Farm have also made the most of our additional support offer, which hopes to help the charity develop and enhance its services.
“The Foundation’s Enhance support is great. We’ve had support in carrying out a feasibility study for our new café, and from that we were able to win a development grant to make these plans a reality. We’ve also been able to work towards a PQASSO award, which has also opened up new pots of funding for us. On top of that, I attend Ella Forums with other charity leaders which has been a really useful network of support. All of this extra support strengthens our charity, helping to show we’re investable in.”
As part of this extra support offer, Helen has also been matched with Jo, a volunteer Charity Mentor from Lloyds Banking Group.
“My Mentoring experience has been amazing. I first joined the charity in 2001 as an unpaid volunteer and became Manager early last year. I’ve grown up knowing the ins and outs of the farm, but my finance knowledge needed a bit of development. I chatted to our Grant Manager Emma about this gap in my knowledge and she suggested a Charity Mentor.”
“As soon as I met Jo we got on and she has been so supportive throughout. I’ve learnt how to to forecast budgets, produce Trustee reports and Jo has even trained me on excel so I can save time when doing this myself in future. It’s actually given me a bit of a passion for budgeting, which isn’t something I thought I’d say!”
Jo has had a similarly positive Mentoring experience:
“When I first signed up, I was apprehensive about the value I could add, but I was immediately reassured when I met Helen. Helen is amazing and does so much for the charity, meaning it is sometimes hard for her to sit down and think. I guess I help her find that time.
"It’s really rewarding to support such a great charity that touches a huge breadth of the community, and being able to be a small part of that is a great thing. I carry the inspiration I get from Bath City Farm straight back to my desk (along with the mud!).”